After being postponed by COVID for two years, the Redlands Bicycle Classic returned to the Inland Empire of California with large fields of riders eager to start racing again.
The Redlands Classic is the longest-running stage race in the United States, started in 1985. The race has survived through the years, overcoming limited road access, changing courses, limited sponsors, and finally COVID.
Redlands has featured riders such as Davis Phinney, Jeff Pierce, Malcolm Elliott, Jeannie Golay, Linda Jackson, Chris Horner, Jonathan Vaughters, Cadel Evans, Ina Teutenberg, Amber Neben, Rory Sutherland, Sepp Kuss, Neilson Powless, Brandon McNulty, and most recently, Quinn Simmons in 2019.
The 2022 edition features a large field of 190 men and 100+ women, all looking forward to racing and hopefully impressing someone enough to move up in the cycling world.
Stage 1 was the Highland circuit race, 14 laps of a 2.8-mile circuit for the women, and 20 laps for the men. Each circuit included the very steep climb up Baseline Road to the finish at the top.
Olympic Speedskater Mia Mangenello Kilburg straped on her helmet for her first race since the Beijing Winter Olympics.
With one lap to go, Project Echelon, L39ION, and CS Velo riders came to the front of the pack to set up for the last lap.
A large women’s peloton of 75 riders started the first of 14 laps in Highland.
The circuit started with a long down hill for the men and women just after the start/finish, and ended with the long climb up Baseline Road.
DNA Pro Cycling was the favorite for the stage and was aggressive early in the women’s race.
Instafund’s Heidi Franz won the women’s race with a well-timed uphill sprint.
The men’s peloton, with nearly 190 riders, climbed Base Line road to the finish after 20 laps.
The early break in the men’s race consisted of Kaler Marshall and junior Alex Gustin (Lux Racing), who stayed in front for most of the race.
A tightly packed peloton crested the climb and headed out for another lap.
Riders on the Base Line road climb, a long slow ascent to the finish.
The peloton stayed together for most of the race and passed under the finish line on lap 15.
The remnants of the break, led by Kaler Marshall, tried to hold off the peloton for one more lap.
Project Echelon riders led the chase with two laps to go, to set up Tyler Stites for the sprint.
Cole Davis of Voler Factory Racing (left) won the three-up sprint with a great bike throw.
The men’s podium of (left to right) Tyler Stites, Cole Davis, and Cameron Piper.