Phil Gaimon (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Mara Abbott (LA Sweat) won stage 3 of the Redlands Bicycle Classic, and with that, each took over the yellow jersey in their respective races on Friday.
As the men’s field took to the circuit, early break attempts by smaller squads were neutralized by a charging field working to keep the race contained.
Eventually a group of two with riders, Efren Flores (KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo) and Travis Samuel (H&R Block), held up to a minute advantage on the peloton on the last lap of the circuit, but were brought back by an organized chase between Silber Pro Cycling and Jelly Belly.
As the race ascended to Oak Glen, many short-lived attacks came off the front of the lead group and were quickly reabsorbed. By the midway point, only 11 riders remained, with pre-race favorites Gaimon, Chris Horner (Airgas-Safeway), Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly), and Emerson Oronte (AltoVelo-SeaSucker) all in contention.
But, it was former overall winner Gaimon who would take the day, distancing his fellow climbers as the race reached one kilometer to go. He would charge to the finish with a 12-second advantage on teammate Michael Woods, who came across the line with Gavin Mannion (Jelly Belly) at the same time. The resulting overall classification shake-up puts Gaimon into a relatively comfortable 31-second advantage over Mannion in the GC, who sits in second. Following closely behind is youngster Adrien Costa (Cal Giant-Specialized) at 38 seconds back.
Abbott claims stage and overall lead
The women’s race was marked by hard racing from the gun, with Alizee Brien (Tibco-SVB) driving an early solo breakaway. She managed to drag her lead to well over a minute on the rolling circuit around Crafton Hills before finally coming back to the fold on the 4.5 mile-long finishing ascent to Oak Glen.
The lithe climbers hit the front, with Mara Abbott (LA Sweat) eventually shedding her companions at the finish in Oak Glen Village, coming in ahead of Amber Neben (Visit Dallas-Noise4Good) and Allie Dragoo (Twenty16-Sho-Air).
The general classification standings now mirror today’s stage finish, with Abbott holding 22 seconds on Neben and 45 on Dragoo.
The Redlands Bicycle Classic stage race continues with Saturday’s stage 4 criterium, a 60-minute race for women, 90-minutes for men. Watch live coverage on VeloNews.com. The women’s race begins at 2:30 p.m. PDT; the men will race at 4:30 p.m. PDT.