Hall dominates yet again at Redlands Classic
Is Katie Hall unstoppable? With overall wins at the Tour of the Gila, Joe Martin Stage Race and now victory on the second stage of Redlands Classic, we think so.
The 31-year-old has been on fire this year, so it seemed natural for Hall to take her second win on the brutal Yucaipa Road Race course after 106 kilometers of racing under the California sun.
“I really like this stage,” Hall said after the stage. “I wanted to win it again. We had a break up the road for most of the race with Lauretta (Hanson) and Leah (Thomas) in it. I have total confidence in Leah in that break so I didn’t feel like I had to hit the wind before the climb. Lauren (Hall), Rushlee (Buchanan) and Lizzie (Banks) did a great job of controlling the break so that I could give it a go when we hit the final climb. I am happy to take another uphill finish win and excited for the rest of the week.”
Halfway through the four circuits, a group of 12 riders went clear containing Hanson and Thomas, which team director Rachel Hedderman said she was happy with. However, the team didn’t want the gap grow too far so the team kept it in between a minute or two.
On the final climb, Hall launched her devastating attack, catching the remants of the break, then firing another attack to go on to the win. “Today was another great display of teamwork, with each rider doing their job perfectly to set Katie up, and Katie finishing it off in style,” Hedderman said. “With just six riders here, it will be a challenge to defend the jersey against teams of eight, but the team is up for the challenge.”
Not only does the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team have the yellow jersey, Hanson scooped up enough sprint points in the break to start tomorrow’s stage in green.
“Today was a hard stage,” Hanson said. “It was great to have myself and Leah in the break, but it was a hard day back in the bunch for the rest of the girls. Obviously, I’m super happy to see Hall reward the team with the win and it was a bit of a bonus to collect the sprint jersey along the way.”
Similar to the women’s race, a break failed to establish until halfway through the circuits. When it did however, Jonny Clarke was sure to be in it. The plan was to race for Gavin Mannion and Daniel Jaramillo, so when Clarke forced himself into the breakaway, the team knew the pressure was off until the final climb.
“It was a tough day in the break today,” Clarke said. “That course definitely catches up on you. I was never really thinking of staying away to the finish, it was more to put pressure on the other teams in the peloton and keep our guys sitting in the wheels.”
When the finishing climb met the eyes of the riders, Janier Acevedo helped Mannion and Sergei Tsvetkov, but inside the last five kms they were on their own. Tsvetkov followed the Thomas Revard (Axeon) who eventually won the stage, but burnt all his matches working at the front. Mannion attacked with three kms to go, but couldn’t close the gap as he was with two more Axeon riders.
Mannion rode himself into fourth place overall with plenty of time to move up during the remaining stages.