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San Dimas: Ben Day, Amber Neben confirm; Anibal Borrajo wins for his brother

The San Dimas Stage Race is becoming the Ben Day and Highroad show. Last weekend Kenda-5-hour Energy’s Day took his third consecutive overall title – and Amber Neben won the fourth overall title in a row for HTC-Highroad – in the final tune-up for the Redlands Classic.

As he did in 2009 and 2010, Day beat all comers in the opening uphill Glendora Time Trial Friday and his new Kenda team rode well on the front to defend the jersey over the weekend. Day’s overall win comes less than two months after he landed an 11th-hour contract with Kenda after Pegasus Racing collapsed, and less than a week before he opens another try at a repeat, this time in Redlands.

Ricky Escuela (Full Circle Sports) won the stage 3 criterium in downtown San Dimas, but Anibal Borrajo’s (Jamis-Sutter Home) win a day earlier in the 84-mile road race was the heaviest moment of the weekend. Borrajo looked to the sky and raised both hands when he crossed the line to take his first win since his brother Armando died late last year.

“I want to dedicate my victory to Armando and all the people that have supported my family,” Borrajo said. “We have many friends here in the U.S. and in Argentina and this win was for them.”

Borrajo’s teammate Tyler Wren and Exergy’s Matt Cooke both rode well at Glendora and wound up third and second in the final classification, respectively. Teammates Francisco Mancebo and Cesar Grajales (Realcyclist.com) rounded out the top-five. Their director Gord Fraser said on Facebook afterward that he was disappointed in the team’s tactics on the final day.

“Well, to be honest not the execution of tactics and strategy I was hoping for today,” he said. “Mistakes were made and discussed. Look for a better criterium performance when Real Cyclist.com team goes to Redlands midweek.”

With Grajales to support him, Mancebo may be Day’s toughest challenge in his repeat bid.

In women’s racing, much like Day, Neben secured her first GC win for her new HTC squad with the top time at Glendora Friday. Her teammate Chloe Hosking took the criterium win Sunday and the team controlled much of the action over the weekend to deliver the former world time trial champion to the overall win. Fellow HTC newcomer Amanda Miller finished second in the final general classification.

Despite HTC’s power, Colavita-Forno d’Aso had their time on Saturday. Former Canadian national team hockey player Heather Logan-Sprenger rode a late solo move into the stage win, 45 seconds ahead of teammate Theresa Cliff-Ryan who took the field sprint. In a press release, third-place GC rider Kristin Armstrong’s Peanut Butter & Co.-Twenty12 manager Nicola Cranmer contended that Logan-Sprenger took advantage of a neutralization of the women’s race as they passed a men’s masters field, to get her gap.

“She quickly gained a minute on the women’s field, with the peloton unaware she was up the road,” said Cranmer. “With no chase ensuing, Sprenger put time into the unsuspecting field, and moved into the virtual leader’s jersey on the road.”

Logan-Sprenger picked up time bonuses en route to the win and leapfrogged Armstrong in the GC, ending up third in the final classification.

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