The final dress rehearsal before the NRC starts is upon us, the San Dimas Stage Race. In only its 11th year, the 3-stage race has become an important race for teams, more so now with the Tour of California moved to May to test themselves against each other. Many but not all of the teams have been hitting regional races to hone their forms and will now gather in Southern California in the leadup to the NRC opener Redlands Bicycle Classic. Four jerseys, along with the stage wins, are up for grabs: leader’s jersey, U25 jersey, sprint and KOM.
See San Dimas Stage Race resources here
Teams that already have wins this year include UnitedHealthcare with the time trial and overall at Tour de Murrietta for Rory Sutherland and Karl Menzies respectively. The BISSELL team with time trial wins at both Merco Classic and Madera including the overall at the later for Ben Jacques-Maynes who is not in San Dimas. However Paul Mach who also won one of the two TTs at Madera is here. The Bahati Foundation swept the Merco Grand Prix and finished second in the road race is hoping to continue their groove with former winner, in 2002, Hilton Clarke.
Jamis/Sutter Home took home some victories in February in their South American trip with both Annibal Borrajo and Frank Travieso at Rutas de Americas.
Fly V Australia also had wins with Phil Zajicek taking the overall at Tour de Tuscon and finishing second in the TT and sprinter Jonathan Cantwell claimed the Murrietta crit. Zajicek is not present but defending champion Ben Day is back and will have his hands full to keep the jersey against a strong field. A field that also includes Spidetech p/b Planet Energy team, Holowesko Partners U23 team, Team Type 1, Mountain Kharkis Fueled Jittery Joes and lots more. (See start list)
Will anyone be able to stop the HTC-Columbia Women’s team juggernaut? Following their tried and true method, the team uses the California races to get ready to tackle the classics in Europe. Last year, they won both San Dimas and Redlands and defending champion Ina Teutenberg has shown she means business already, sweeping the Merco Classic. Winner of the Tour of Murrietta Lauren Tamayo is not present but her Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12 team is bringing Mara Abbott who won the TT and finished second overall.
US National Road Champion Meredith Miller, overall winner in 2007, is back with the only UCI team registered in the US, the TIBCO/To The Top squad. Also in the house are Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light led by Cath Cheatley who finished 3rd last year, Team Vera Bradley Foundation and the Canadian team Nanoblur-Gears and more. (See start list)
The race consists of three stages. It starts off with the Glendora Chevrolet Time Trial. The 6 km (3.7 mi) climb up Glendora Mountain Road poses a steady pitch between 4.5 – 5.5 percent. GMR confronts racers with a dizzying number of corners, as it twists and turns up the mountainside. (Women start times, Men Start times)
Saturday is the grueling classic San Dimas Hospital Road Race around Bonelli Park on March 20th, on a rolling to hilly 11.2 km (7 mile) loop on roads that surround and bisect the park. Each loop includes the climb up Cannon that has a 13-percent kicker followed by flat and fast roads for the next couple of miles. Women do 8 laps for 90 km (56 mi), Men do 12 laps for 135 km (84 mi).
The race ends on Sunday with the Incycle/Cannondale Old Town Grand Prix, raced on a 6-corner on a 1.9km (1.2 mi) course with three long straight-aways and a slight climb up Iglesia St with 40 feet elevation. The long slightly downhill section enables incredible speeds into the righthand corner and onto the finish straightaway. The women race for 55 minutes and the men for 90 minutes. We should see for the first times this year in the US some of the leadout trains going head to head.
Follow @podium_live for live updates during the race. Look for reports and photos here after the stages.
See cheat sheet for more info.