The Redlands Bicycle Cycling Classic is the longest-running stage race in the United States. While the 40-year-old stage race was on-hold in 2020 due to the coronavirus race stoppage, a virtual event hosted by USA Cycling and Project Echelon allowed top domestic elites and Zwift racing specialists to race two stages that mimicked two of Redlands’s famous courses.
On Friday night the peloton tackled a virtual criterium, held over 25 laps of the 1.9km Dolphin Loop for a total of 47.5 kilometers, and with just 300m of climbing. Zwift U.S. national champion Holden Comeau of team Saris-The Pros Closet took the victory just ahead of crit specialist Cory Williams of L3gion of Los Angeles.
With seven teammates also racing, Comeau was able to keep his powder dry for nearly the entire 58-minute event.
Once inside the final kilometer, Comeau sustained over 16 watts per kilogram in his winning attack, moving from 15th place to well clear of the group.
“[I’m] so proud to ride for the Saris – The Pro’s Closet team. The squad set up this win by controlling the race and allowing me to spend an hour conserving and hiding to make sure I came into the final 30 seconds as fresh as possible,” Comeau said.
Comeau’s teammate, Ryan Larsen, finished in 3rd position in the first of two events.
On Sunday, the Zwift Redlands Cycling Classic circuit race was staged on the Greater London Loop, covering 3 laps, for a total of 64 kilometers. The route was designed to look and feel like Redlands’s famed Sunset Loop, which has traditionally capped off the event. Each lap racers had to summit Box hill — 2.8km at 5 percent grade — which stretched racing to more than 80 minutes, over the otherwise mostly-flat course.
Alex Fraser-Maraun (Landis-Trek) took the win over Williams (L3gion of LA), and Ryan Larson (Saris – The Pros Closet). Williams and Larson were on the podium in the crit, just two days earlier.
Larson stayed safely at the front of the group for the entire stage, monitoring his competitors’ moves.
To no one’s surprise, the selection came on the Box Hill climb, with a group of about 20 making the split. This group stayed together until the 3rd and final climb up Box Hill.
From a whittled-down group of 11, Eder Frayer (L3gion of LA) attacked right before the climb from The Underground, but was not able to get enough of gap, and was quickly reabsorbed.
As a single-file group headed back into downtown London, attacks and counter-attacks came rapid-fire, with Saris-TPC Dan Fleeman taking Cory Williams on what appeared to be a promising move just inside of 1 kilometer to go.
Project Echelon quickly responded, and dragged the group back up to the twosome, trying to put Zach Gregg into winning position. This move provided the launch-pad which Fraser-Mauran to used to his advantage.
Following a 13 watt-per-kilogram move by Williams, the Canadian won the stage with a virtual-bike-throw.
Redlands Cycling Classic Stage 1
1. Holden Comeau (Saris – The Pros Closet), 58:30
2. Cory Williams (L39ION), at 58:31
3. Ryan Larson (Saris – The Pros Closet), at 58:31
Redlands Cycling Classic Stage 2
1. Alex Fraser-Maraun (Landis-Trek), 1:24:28
2. Cory Williams (L39ION), at s.t.
3. Ryan Larson (Saris – The Pros Closet), at s.t.