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With an attack on the final day of racing, Matteo Dal-Cin became the first Canadian man to win the Redlands Bicycle Classic Sunday in California, in what was the biggest victory of his young career.
“Words can’t describe how great it was to have the guys looking out for me all week,” he said. “It really helps you dig in that little bit more when you know your teammates have put their trust in you — you have to do your best ride, after they sacrifice for you all day.”
The 25-year-old Ottowan went into Sunday’s stage 5 only two seconds behind Janier Acevedo of Jamis. Acevedo had collected the leader’s jersey after finishing third out of a breakaway in stage 2, behind winner Sep Kuss (Gateway Harley Davidson) and Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly). Dal-Cin found his way into the winning 15-man move in the 151-kilometer final stage and with help from his teammate Nigel Ellsay, finished fourth behind stage winner Travis McCabe (Hincapie) and claimed the GC crown.
“I’m over the moon. It was such a cool experience executing our plan to a ‘T’ today … incredible,” Dal-Cin added. Prior to Sunday his only other major victory was the overall in last year’s Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay, a UCI 2.2 race in Canada.
Axeon – Hagens Berman’s Nielson Powless, who won the stage 3 time trial, was second in the final GC, and McCabe rounded out the podium in third.
Kristen Armstrong wins women’s race
As she’s done before in other races, such as the USA Pro Challenge, Kristen Armstrong rode to a GC victory thanks to a dominant performance in the time trial, but like Dal-Cin, she’s also a first-time winner in Redlands.
Two-time Olympic and world champion Armstrong rode to top-three results in the first two stages and then pounced in stage 3’s individual test, winning and taking the overall lead from Mara Abbott (Amy D. Foundation), who was riding with a fractured collarbone.
In Sunday’s hilly final stage, Armstrong was content to mark Abbott in the peloton while her Twenty16 – Sho-Air teammate Leah Thomas rode off the front with two others and won the day.
Abbott hung on to finish second overall, while Eri Yonamine (Dare to Be) moved up into third overall after finishing third out of the winning breakaway in stage 5.