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Hall reigns supreme at Redlands Classic
The California sun had nothing on the blaze the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling teams set on the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Katie Hall added another yellow jersey to her 2018 collection after sealing the deal on the final stage – Sunset Loop Road Race.
“I’m happy and incredibly surprised to take another GC win here in Redlands,” Hall said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates today. Rally brought the fight today, but we were ready for it. Lizzie (Banks), Lauren (Hall), Lauretta (Hanson) and Rushlee (Buchanan) pulled back the early moves, leaving Leah (Thomas) and I rested. Leah covered all of Rally’s climber’s attacks in the second half of the race so that when Sara Bergen’s big attack came in the last lap, she couldn’t get a gap on me. Rally tried to isolate me today, but I always had Leah there with me and I never felt under stress.”
The women’s race featured nine laps of a 6.5-mile circuit through beautiful Redlands neighborhoods. It was a tough circuit with a climb and technical descent and not much rest allowed in between laps. The goal going into stage was to defend Hall’s yellow jersey, but the team knew Rally would bring a tough fight with three of their riders inside the top ten. Kate Buss from Tibco attacked early and was solo for several laps, but at seven minutes down she wasn’t a GC threat, so there was no threat.
“Lauren, Lauretta and Lizzie did a great job of controlling things early before Lauretta took over and then in the final two laps it was over to Leah,” team director Rachel Hedderman said. “Kristy Lay (Rally) attacked hard the final time over the QOM climb joining Emma Grant from Tibco, who had attacked at the base. Leah did an amazing job of holding the gap, leaving Katie to mark attacks from Sara Bergen. Emma Grant took the win from Kristy Lay, and Katie came in safely in the chasing group 30 seconds later to secure her third GC win this year.”
Hedderman couldn’t be happier with the way her team has performed over the last three US Pro Tour races.
“I am beginning to sound like a broken record talking about teamwork, but that really is what is giving us such great results,” she said. “I felt like today could be our biggest challenge yet this year, but the girls upped their game yet again to take on the challenge.”
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling men brought the heat to the Sunset Road Race today, putting pressure on the race and putting Daniel Jaramillo, Lachlan Norris and Seghei Tvetcov into the most dangerous break of the day. However, the style of the course and different motives of the teams made sure nothing was going to stick.
The team hoped to get GC hopeful Gavin Mannion moved up into a podium position by the end of the race, but it was not to be.
“Mannion attacked the last two times up the climb and wasn’t able to drop the Axeon riders,” team director Seba Alexandre said. At the end of the stage, a select group of 25 riders made to the finish line and Gavin finished fourth on the stage, conserving his fourth place overall.