Criterium ace Thomas Revard (Hagens Berman Axeon) showed off his climbing talents Thursday in stage 2 of the Redlands Bicycle Classic. In the women’s race, Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare) attacked the field on the final climb up Oak Glen to win the stage for her second year in a row.
Although Oak Glen was stage 2 of Redlands, it was the first day of racing because stage 1 was cancelled due to wintry weather.
“Going into the day, we were hoping to set up Sean [Bennet] and Will [Barta] because they’re our two big GC contender guys,” said Revard, the under-23 national criterium champion. “Going up the last climb, everything just happened and I managed to hold it off until the end. Today managed to play out in a good way, it was unexpected but we’ll take it.”
He rode clear of the group with five kilometers remaining in the 151km race after an early breakaway of four riders was caught at the bottom of the final climb. Lionel Mawditt (Project Echelon) was second, and Bennet, Sean (Hagens Berman Axeon) finished third.
“I was able to make it into the break, that was our plan,” Cullen Easter (303 Project) said. He was joined by Chris Blevins (Hagens Berman Axeon), Fernando Islas (Aevolo), and Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare). “Once I was in the break, I knew the KOM was something I really wanted to go for. Being my first time at Redlands, I threw a lot of energy behind it and was able to get all three KOMs. It was a really fun day with good people in the break. I am going to try as hard as I can to defend it.”
Elevate and Holowesko did the majority of the chasing to bring back the attack. By the time the break made the turn to Oak Glen, the peloton was close behind.
Axeon Hagens Berman moved to the front and strung out what was left of the already splintered pack. With five kilometers to go on the final climb, Revard went to the front, drove the pace, and no one could follow.
Hall repeats on Oak Glen
In contrast to Revard’s approach to vicotry, Hall launched a late attack on the final climb to win with Edwige Pitel (Jakroo Racing) only 12 seconds behind. Sara Bergen (Rally Cycling) was third, another seven seconds back.
“We had a couple of cards to play today,” Hall said. “It just turned out that my card was the one that worked today in the end. I’m really happy to take the jersey. I think it will be some really aggressive racing this week. There are a bunch of teams with eight riders, and we have six so we’re expecting some heat. It should be a lot of fun.”
On the second lap of the four-lap circuit, a break went clear in the 106.5km road race. Rally Cycling had Bergen and Katherine Maine in the move, while UnitedHealthcare was represented by Leah Thomas and Lauretta Hanson in the break. Hanson was able to snatch the first sprint, and cross for third in the second sprint that landed her in the green jersey at the end of the day.
“We’re definitely riding for GC so we wanted to scoop up the points for time whenever possible,” Bergen said. “I want to congratulate Katie on a great ride. We put it all out there today. We might be down a couple of seconds but we have three days of racing left.”