One second. So small yet so huge. One hard-fought, hotly contested second is what separates the overall winner, Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com) from second-place Ben Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL). Tied on time going into the race, with Mancebo wearing the yellow jersey, all eyes were on the first sprint for the time bonus at the first KOM.
The uphill sprint was on with Cesar Grajales (RealCyclist.com) grabbing the three seconds followed by Jacques-Maynes and Mancebo. With that, Jacques-Maynes became the virtual leader on the road by one second. Then all hell broke loose for the next 12 laps around the tough Sunset Loop. The aggression never stopped with BISSELL lined up at the front and Mancebo and his teammates on their wheels. Lap after lap, the lead group dwindled as riders were shelled.
All breaks had been reeled in by the time the lead group of around 40 riders made its way back to downtown Redlands for the five finishing short-circuits with the all important second intermediate time bonus sprint. The riders were singled-filed as they raced around the tight corners and Mancebo was able to cross the line first for three seconds while an isolated Jacques-Maynes was third to get one second.
That put Mancebo back in the lead with that one second lead.
Sprinters that were left in the group set up behind their teammates, if they had any left. RealCyclist.com’s Cole House outsprinted everyone to win the Beaver Medical Group Sunset Road. Jonathan Cantwell (V Australia) took second and Luca Damiani (Kenda/5-Hour Energy), third.
Stage 1 winner John Bennett (CalGiant) continued to impress. Taking top points in two of the KOMs sprints, he won the overall KOM classification. Though he crashed while in a two-man break in the final Sunset Loop lap, his time was pro-rated and he as able to accept the green jersey, smiling but bandaged up. Roman Van Uden (Pure Black Racing) won the Sprint competition and Chipotle Development Team won the team classification.
Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com). “In the first sprint, I wasn’t good, I attacked at the bottom of the climb but he was stronger. After that, his team controlled the whole day, they worked a lot and we stayed in their wheels. For us, it was better that way. For the last sprint, I attacked full gas, I was first and that was it. And with Cole’s victory, it’s very good for us.”
About the overall win. “A new team, this win was very important for us, it’s our first important race and we raced well. We won a stage, we won the general classification and we are very happy for the future. We are looking forwards to other races such as Tour of the Gila, Joe Martin and Tour de Beauce. “
Cole House (RealCyclist.com). “I had double roles today. The stage win wasn’t going to be decided until the very end, on Sunset Loop I didn’t even know if I could finish the stage so I did what we could. So we came out, we had our plan, we stuck to it, Mancebo tried to give it a go a couple of times up the climb but for him, it’s not the perfect climb, it’s a little too short but he definitely recognized that and he just went for the time bonus, saved everything for the time bonus.”
After the 2nd intermediate time bonus sprint. “At that point, I knew that we had to win the sprint and take the time bonus from Jacques-Maynes. The team has been working hard and to finish it off with the stage win and the overall win is awesome. It’s great for the team, RealCyclist.com. We dedicate the overall win and the stage win to one of our mechanics back at RealCyclist, Jeff [Bates]. He’s battling cancer. It’s great to pull it off for our team, the sponsors and for him.”
About the final lap. “coming through here, I was probably seven or eight guys back. Yesterday there was a big crash on the u-turn so I wanted to be on the outside just in case someone slid out so I stuck to the outside. Fly V was doing the lead out and they gunned it. I was still five or six guys back going into the turns, going around the cafe, I swung it wide and got on the inside of the other guys. They still had two or three guys on the front, just all out, just got the perfect launch with four corners to go. I know that I can’t take the sprint from Cantwell from behind so I had to jump him early and hopefully get a gap. I just hit it hard, took the lead coming into the chicane, I knew that I could get through there, through the corners I could rest up a little bit, I had to protect my inside coming into the corners. Going into the last turn I knew that I had to go all out, I looked back and I saw Cantwell on my wheel, just gave it everything I had. I saw him pull alongside me, ‘oh shoot’. Head down, everything I had and held him off.”
Omer Kem, BISSELL DS. “I couldn’t be prouder of my guys, this is the best team that we’ve ever had riding in the BISSELL jersey. It’s a team where they all ride for each other, they left everything out there. We rode our race, we’re happy to have had the chance to do that, we took the jersey, that was our plan and we rode our race. They made it really hard. Mancebo had some friends in the group there towards the end, it’s bike racing, that’s the way it goes. We didn’t make a lot of friends yesterday.”
Top 10 Stage 3 Results
1 Cole House (Realcyclist.com) 3:40:54
2 Jonathan Cantwell (V Australia)
3 Luca Damiani (Kenda-5 Hour Energy)
4 Raymond Kreder (Chipotle Development)
5 Joseph Lewis (Trek-Livestrong)
6 Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies)
7 Christian Helmig (Elbowz Racing)
8 Andres Diaz (Team Exergy)
9 Chris Baldwin (Juwi Solar-First Solar)
10 Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.com)
Top 10 Final GC
1 Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.com) 9:59:16
2 Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling) 0:01
3 Chris Baldwin (Juwi Solar-First Solar) 0:09
4 Andres Diaz (Team Exergy) 0:10
5 Cesar Grajales (Realcyclist.com) 0:17
6 Bernard Van Ulden (Jelly Belly-Kenda) 0:20
7 Tyler Wren (Jamis Sutter Home) 0:22
8 George Nelson Bennett (Trek-Livestrong) 0:31
9 Darren Rolfe (V Australia) 0:36
10 Matt Cooke (Team Exergy) 0:36