After five days of racing in Redlands, California, Thomas Revard and Katie Hall wrapped up the weekend with overall wins Sunday following the Sunset Loop Road Race.
Revard and his Hagens Berman Axeon kept their cool in the closing stages of the 151.3km race when Brendan Rhim (Holowesko Citadel) launched a bold solo attack. More than two minutes behind in the overall, Rihm’s attack was not a threat.
The young Holowesko rider reached the final downtown circuits with a 25-second advantage, despite a charging chase group led by Axeon Hagens Berman. Australian Griffen Easter (303 Project) claimed the group sprint for second ahead of stage 4 criterium winner, Sam Bassetti (Elevate-KHS).
Rihm admitted that his victory came after a difficult day in the saddle thanks to the course’s hilly profile.
“I was suffering all day, I really didn’t think I was going to make the lead group coming into the last lap,” Rhim said. “Coming into the climb on the last lap, I attacked on the downhill coming into it and gained a little gap. I just rode steady because I knew Gavin [Mannion], Sean [Bennett], and whoever else was coming up behind me. I hit it on the downhill and it stuck.”
The overall winner Revard reveled in the biggest win of his career after a strong showing by his team at Redlands.
“The guys rode unbelievable,” Revard said. “They really threw everything they had. It was really nice to have Sean [Bennett] and Will [Barta] be able to finish with me on the circuit because that meant that they kept their GC spots. This wins means a lot, it’s the biggest win of my career. I’m so excited for what’s to come.”
Lionel Mawditt (Project Echelon) was second overall, 24 seconds down. Revard’s teammate, Sean Bennett, was third in the final GC standings.
Fernando Islas (Aevolo Cycling) took the king of the mountains prize with his consistent performance over the five opportunities for points on the Sunset Loop.
“The team was working a lot for me and for Alex [Hoehn]. I am happy to be able to continue helping the team, and to continue to learn and improve each day,” Islas said. “It’s a big victory for me because this is such a big event. We’re all young, and it was up to me to fight for this classification. We have plenty of strong riders like Luis [Villalobos] and Alex who finished in the top ten on GC. After winning the stage last year and the KOM this year, it shows we did the job well, little by little.”
Jelly Belly’s Jacob Rathe wrapped up the victory in the sprint competition and Matt McLoone (CS Velo) took home the best amateur jersey.
Grant surprises herself with stage 5 victory
Emma Grant (TIBCO) and Kirsti Lay (Rally) made the decisive breakaway with 10km to go in the women’s race.
Once the move went, Grant attacked alone off the decent down Sunset to take the stage win. The British rider had made the decision to race only days before arriving in Southern California, after breaking her elbow overseas two weeks prior.
“It’s still sinking in,” Grant said in disbelief after her win. “I had my teammates there for the bulk of the race, keeping me protected to allow me to keep making the selection, and then I could play my cards when it suited me on the last lap up the climb. I decided the day before I came here to show up because I broke my elbow in Belgium. I made a silly personal decision myself to show up to see what I could do. I’m so happy I came. I’ve always wanted to win a stage at Redlands and to pull it off, I really didn’t expect it.”
As was the case in the men’s race, Hall and her UnitedHealthcare team were content to let a break slip away since both Lay and Grant were more than a minute behind in the overall.
Hall’s overall win gave her a hat-trick on the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour — her third GC victory in as many races. Rally Cycling had Sara Bergen second overall at the start of the final stage, but all of the team’s best efforts couldn’t keep UHC from defending the overall.
Bergen kept her second-place result, 25 seconds down, and Rally won the overall team classification. Edwige Pitel (Jakroo Racing) held on for third to round out the final GC podium.
“I’m surprised,” Hall said. “I came off a really good off-season, I hit the gym really hard. I feel this win was just a product of my team. I’m really grateful. I was expecting a lot of attacks from Rally and that’s what they brought. It was really good, fun, hard racing.”
Hagens Berman Supermint will leave Redlands with two prizes: the QOM classification with Starla Teddergreen and the sprint points leader classification with Jessica Cerra after her win on stage 4. Maddy Ward (JLVelo Cycling Team) won the best amateur jersey.