On an uphill climb over residential city streets, Amber Neben (Dare to Be-BMW-Bianchi) won the Sun Time Trial Prologue convincingly at the Redland Bicycle Classics this afternoon. Her winning time of 10:56 was easily 16 seconds faster than second place finisher Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12) and 22 seconds faster than Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Columbia) sitting in third place.
women’s report by Stephanie Gutowski
“This will be the fourth prologue win for me here,” commented Neben on her latest prologue win. “I don’t know what it is…you get the pacing strategy right…you get the warm up right.” Neben is the 2008 UCI World Time Trial Champion.
“This is fun for me because it’s close to home,” continued Neben. “I never know what kind of form I’m going to have. To try to throw down for 10 minutes, I can at least do that and then we will see what is going to happen for the rest of the week.
Neben suffered a crushing injury during the 2009 UCI World Championship Road Race. In attempting to bypass downed riders, she slammed her left hand into a large metal barrier, and had surgery right after Mendrisio. “I’m healthy and I’m good,” said Neben about her current health. “The injury I had from the world championships…I don’t think about it all.”
“I’m feeling ‘winter’ strong right now. That is a lot different from being ‘race-fit’ strong. Of course, I always want to go for it and we will see what happens. There are some really strong teams here and some really strong riders so I will go out to race, have fun and see what happens. People will be more alert this year because of the depth of the teams. Teams have multiple riders who can be dangerous which does make it a lot harder to control…but you do what you can do and enjoy it and get some good race fitness done.”
Abbott continues her strong racing in Southern California. She won the prologue in San Dimas last week. Abbott finished today’s prologue with a time of 11:12. “It was fun today,” said Abbott. “It’s a really amazing time trial. I felt pretty good doing it. I really enjoyed doing the race. I love the atmosphere of being her at Redlands. Today was such a great way to kick off the racing. I am with a new team this year. We got to race together for the first time at San Dimas and I really had a good time. I am really excited about racing with the girls again.”
“That was a hard time trial,” stated third place finisher Stevens. Stevens completed the prologue in 11:17. “It had a little bit of everything. Today was definitely hard. I tried to go fast and….it was hard. We have such a strong team. I think it’s going to be an exciting three more days of racing.”
Alison Powers (Team VBF) rode the course in 11:27. “My time was a little slower than last year, but I am really pleased with my ride.” said Powers.
“We are in a great position going into tomorrow’s road race,” stated Team VBF director, Lisa Hunt. Tomorrow’s road race course features a new addition to the circuit. “The additional climb in Banning is going to make the race harder and a lot more interesting. It’s going to be exciting.”
Stage 1 is the City of Beaumont Road Race. It is a 68 miles course consisting of 1 lap of a 33.2 mile circuit and 2 laps of a 17.4 mile circuit. There will be two climber’s competitions and three sprinters competitions.
Pressure was on Ben Day of the Fly V Australia to deliver the win at the Sun Time Trial, the prologue of the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Pressure from winning the prologue last year and pressure from coming here as the overall winner of the San Dimas Stage Race.
Day delivered the goods, clocking 9:16, three seconds faster than last year’s result. He set an average speed of 20 mph (32 km.h) on the 3.1-mile (5 km) uphill course where the finish is at the top of the climb with a 207 meter (680’) total vertical ascent.
“I heard it was a fast course, there’s a lot of guys who were faster than last year so obviously it was a fast course. I went out there and concentrated on my race. I put a fair bit of pressure on myself to win today, it’s a big big relief.” said Day.
Why did he put pressure on himself to deliver? “When you’re going well you have to take these opportunities. It’s such a bitch of a sport sometimes and if you miss out on some of those opportunities you’ll kick yourself afterwards. It wasn’t a perfectly executed time trial for me but just the fact that I won, I’m just very happy.” smiled Day.
The Jelly Belly presented by Kenda squad had a strong showing today putting three riders in the top 10. Before the halfway mark through the field of 194 men, Kiel Reijnen took over the lead with a time of 9:20. After waiting in the hot seat for the next 78 riders to finish, Reijnen was bumped by his teammate Carter Jones who was two seconds faster. It looked like a Jelly Belly 1-2 until Day, the final rider out of the start ramp stopped the clock at another two seconds faster. The other Jelly Belly in the top 10 is Will Routley who finished seventh at eighteen seconds back.
“I think we really made some changes this winter.” said Reijnen about his team’s result. “The team definitely went through a transition, some new sponsors, a lot of new guys coming in. It’s not just a change of guys, it’s change in attitude, Danny our director brought in a lot of new stuff, not just technology but work ethic.”
“It was a bit windy, I think it was actually better as the day went along. I started in the middle so there’s six on one hand, half a dozen on the other.” said Reijnen about his ride, “It was really hard to pick wheels, it was definitely little bit sketchy in parts. There’s a lot of potholes, a lot of cracks and when you’re trying to keep a rhythm it’s not easy to have those on the course but it’s also a really good course for learning to pace yourself, you could blow up at any point along that course and it’s a hard one judge.”
When I commented that his name was misspelled in the result, Reijnen replied with a smile “they’ll know my name soon.”
“On the overpass, I looked down at my time and I thought I might be able to get this. I got over with the fastest time. “ said Jones who is racing during his spring break. “I got tenth last year so a good ride. This year, I’m just a year old, a year stronger, a year more experienced, a little bit better equipment. Our bikes are sweet this year.”
The battle is on and Day knows it. He has strong competitors ready to take him on in a thigh GC. Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) sits in fourth spot at five seconds. The BISSELL Pro Cycling team also has three riders in the top 10, Ben Jacques-Maynes at thirteen seconds, Jeremy Vennell at fifteen seconds and Paul Mach at nineteen seconds. Rounding off the top 10 are Luis Amaran (Jamis/Sutter Home) at twenty seconds and Nathan O’Neill (Bahati Foundation) at twenty-seconds down.
“They are, they’re well and truly are.” replied Day when asked if his boys were ready to defend. “Jelly Belly guys seem to have stacked the top of the leaderboard, they’re not going to make it easy. No bike race is easy. We’ve got a super strong again, Phil [Zajicek] has come in as well, we’re super strong and we’ll see what happens in the next couple of days.”
“We’re not ready to just sit second and third, this is a race that it’s probably better to come from behind honestly, the last couple of years that’s how it’s been won second or third place jumps up into first.” said Reijnen. “Beaumont is a really hard race to control and I think it’s great that we’re not in a position to control it. Not one but three guys who can leap up to first just from that stage so we can really work with a three-pronged attack and I couldn’t be happier with the situation.”
The Redlands Bicycle Classic continues with the 105.7 mile (170 km) City of Beaumont Road Race, with a modified course from last year. The course starts with a long loop which takes the riders up Banning Bench before returning to do four circuits which include the climb up to summit of Bogart County Park with an elevation of 3230 ft (985 m). A total of sixteen seconds is available in bonus time during the stage. (See cheat sheet for stage details).
Also at stake tomorrow is the King of the Mountain jersey with 3 KOMs, Day currently also has the polka-dot jersey.
More photos coming…
Top 10 Women (Full results)
1. Amber Neben (Dare to Be-BMW Bianchi) 10:56
2. Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12) +0:15
3. Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Columbia) +0:21
4. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) +0:29
5. Alison Powers (Team VBF) +0:30
6. Meredith Miller (TIBCO/To The Top) +0:32
7. Robin Farina (Team VBF) +0:35
8. Kat Carroll (Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12) +0:43
9. Katheryn Mattis (Webcor Builders) +0:45
10. Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci) +0:45
Top 10 Men (Full results)
1. Ben Day (Fly V Australia) 9:16
2. Carter Jones (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) +0:02
3. Keil Reijnen (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) +0:04
4. Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis) +0:05
5. Ben Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL) +0:13
6. Jeremy Vennell (BISSELL) +0:15
7. Will Routley (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) +0:18
8. Paul Mach (BISSELL) +0:19
9. Luis Amaran (Jamis/Sutter Home) +0:20
10. Nathan O’Neill (Bahati Foundation) +0:22
Photo Gallery (Click for larger images)
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