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Haedo crushes Highland Circuit Race
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling squads continue on steamrolling through the Redlands Bicycle Classic, this time scooping up another win at the Highland Circuit Race by way Argentinian sprinter Seba Haedo – his first victory this season.
The experienced 35-year-old timed his uphill sprint perfectly to win by a bike length ahead of Michael Rice (Axeon) and James Piccoli (Elevate) after 93 kilometers of hot, fast racing through the Highland neighborhood.
However, the spectacular finale could only come after hard work from the team, especially Australian mountain biker turned roadie Lachlan Norris, who found himself in the break of the day with three other riders that eventually gained more than a minute with six laps to go.
“We really wanted a sprint for Haedo, but when I found myself in a late breakaway it looked like an opportunity for me too,” Norris said. “We were working well until one rider slipped away going for the sprint. The next lap I tried to go across to him but chased, painfully close behind for a few laps. We were eventually swallowed up by the field, and again the boys did a great job of setting things up for Seba into the final. Definitely a very satisfying result when everyone pitches in and things go to plan.”
GC contender Gavin Mannion also had a decent result today, finishing fourth place each stage so far, maintaining his fourth place overall on GC. But, it hasn’t gone all to plan for Mannion this week. The cancellation of the time trial on the opening day was a lost opportunity for Mannion to put some valuable seconds into his closest competitors, so the pressure is on to perform during the remaining stages to get that coveted podium spot.
“The first stage didn’t go quite the way we wanted at the finish with me ending up just off the podium in fourth,” Mannion said. “Stage two went a lot more to plan with Seba winning after a great team effort to be represented in all the moves. I was able to stay out of trouble and take a few seconds back on the race leader. For me, the crit is about staying safe and on Sunset Loop I think everything is up for grabs. It’s going to be hot and very fast all day. I think the close time gaps mean anything can happen.”
Race leader Katie Hall finished second in pro women’s race, safely retaining her overall lead by 26 seconds ahead of Rally’s Sara Bergen. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team defended the yellow jersey over 14 laps of a 2.8-mile circuit with a testing climb to the finish and a technical stretch through neighborhood streets.
“A break of five went early in the race with the highest places rider at two minutes, we controlled the gap around one minute, then aggressive riding by Rally brought it back with four to five laps to go and Jasmin Duehring (Twenty20) went solo, her gap yo-yoed but was never more than 30 seconds.”
Duehring held on for the win by a few seconds after Katie attacked out of a reduced bunch to finish second.
“The girls did a great job of staying calm and keeping the race under control to maintain Katie’s yellow jersey and gaining a few more seconds at the end was the icing on the cake,” Hedderman said.