The final dress rehearsal before the NRC starts is upon us, the 3-day/3-stage San Dimas Stage Race in Southern California. For some it’s the first race with a new team, for others it’s their first race as a pro and for all, it’s the final tuning.
The race, in its 12 edition, offers up the same 3 stages as last year, a short time-trial, road stage and a crit – a bit of everything. (See cheat sheet for details).
Time bonuses have often come into play with this race. While the opening 6 km (3.74 mi) Chaffey Auto Body Mountain Time Trial, all uphill, shows who is on form, the time gaps are still small and the second stage becomes all important. Last year’s fastest time were 13:05.68 for Ben Day and 15:27.61 for Mara Abbott.
On Saturday, the riders face a 11.2 km (7 mile) rolling loop for San Dimas Community Hospital Road Race with multiple HotSpot sprints and the sprint to the finish offering those all important seconds; for the women 50 seconds and for the men, 60 seconds. Typically the third stage, the Incycle/Cannondale Old Town Grand Prix doesn’t change the outcome but that’s not always true, as there are still loads of seconds to be grabbed, 40 seconds in total.
In 2010 Ina Teutenberg (HTC-HighRoad) had everyone riveted when she attacked out of a break on the final stage to gain back over a minute to win the overall, for the second-time in a row. With the race a week later this year, Teutenberg is skipping it to get ready for the Classics. But HTC-HighRoad is still bringing a defending champion, Amber Neben who won in 2000 and Amanda Miller who attacked non-stop at the MERCO Classic.
San Dimas will be the first race for back-from-retirement Olympic Gold medalist Kristin Armstrong with Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12. Winner in 2006, Armstrong is always a threat and so is her teammate Alison Starnes. Colavita/Forno d’Asolo Pro Cycling brings 2010 NRC Champion and 2011 New Zealand National Road Champion, Cath Cheatley who finished third in the race last year. TIBCO/To The Top is looking to Erinne Willock and Carmen Small for the GC. (Full roster here)
With back-back overall wins under his belt, Ben Day is returning to defend with his new team Kenda/5-hour Energy Pro Cycling p/b Geargrinder . But he’s not the only defending champion. 2006 winner Heath Blackgrove is returning with his new team ELBOWZ Racing. Without winning any stages, Blackgrove capitalized on the time bonus seconds to win the overall.
They’ll both be facing a full field that includes the always dangerous Luis Amaran (Jamis Sutter Home Pro Cycling Team) and Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com). The race will also be the first appearance of the new Kiwi team, Pure Black Racing led by Glen Chadwick. Also in the mix are Jelly Belly p/b Kenda led by Sergio Hernandez and BISSELL with Kyle Wamsley. The battle for the U23 jersey should also be quite aggressive. (Full roster here)
- Friday March 25 2011: Stage 1: Chaffey Auto Body Mountain Time Trial
- Saturday March 26 2011: Stage 2: San Dimas Community Hospital Road Race
- women: 8 laps for 90 km (56 mi) at 10:10 am
- men: 12 laps for 135 km (84 mi) at 1:15pm
- Sunday March 27 2011: Stage 3: Incycle/Cannondale Old Town Grand Prix
- women: 55-minutes at 2pm
- men: 90-minutes at 3pm
See San Dimas Stage Race Hub Page for all the race info.