Walle Third, Albrecht Queen of the Mountain in Redlands Bicycle Classic Opener

Brianna Walle, Lex Albrecht, and the rest of the 8-woman Orange & Black team at the Redlands Bicycle Classic used teamwork and tactics to land their first NRC podium and first polkadot jersey of 2015 at the Highland Circuit Race, a 14-lap, 41.3 mile affair centered around an uphill finishing straight built for tough, versatile sprinters. Walle contested the win on the final hill, finishing third. Albrecht, one of the team’s major threat in the hills, dominated the Queen of the Mountain competition, taking top points through each of the two major gates.

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Performance Director Patrick McCarty shares his thoughts on the promising performance in stage one:

“The ladies rode very well today – Lex was stellar in grabbing the QOM, with her efforts largely unmatched by anyone else. The midway bonus sprint went off without a hitch – the team set up Brie well to win by 5 bike lengths. In the finish, we got a little disjointed but were still able to place Brie, Lex and Jasmin Glaesser well for a solid team performance – 3rd on the day and three riders in the top ten.

We got Brie some time bonuses today, which will be key for her in the hunt for the overall. I think we also showed that we have a few options, and multiple strong riders to finish things on Sunday. We will go for the time trial with everything we have tomorrow, with our sights still on the overall. We will then pick away stage by stage to look for wins, and to try and win the overall. It will be tricky, but the ladies are riding great and can do it.

I think our new rider Jasmin is proving to be quite the sharp bike rider, and a great teammate. I think she is capable of doing well overall, and is always on point when it comes to team business. Maura also rode selflessly today, helping her teammates achieve every goal we discussed before the start.”

The men’s team, lining up for the first time together this year on American soil after an extensive and exhausting 6-week race campaign in Portugal, guided breakout climber Mike Woods into position to contest the uphill sprint, where he finished with a large bunch, three seconds behind stage winner Sebastian Haedo, who made a triumphant return to the domestic peloton after several years in the World Tour.

Both teams head into today’s time trial with the general classification still wide open. Photographer Alex Chiu is on-site in Redlands covering the team with a colorful, crisp perspective.

 

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There’s always a flurry of commotion at the team’s staging area prior to the day’s racing with riders pinning on their race numbers, stocking up on CLIF products, and getting final adjustments made to their bikes.

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Women’s director Pat McCarty gives Leah Kirchmann a push after a quick bike swap in the pit.

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Brianna Walle digs deep in the final km of the opening stage and finishes 3rd on the day.

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Tom Soladay and head mechanic Vincent Gee consider making some adjustments for the next day’s stage.

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Tom Zirbel finds a moment of silence after returning to the team’s host housing.

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