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Health Net, Team Lipton dominate Redlands criterium

Health Net-Maxxis successfully defended Nathan O’Neill’s lead in the Redlands Bicycle Classic criterium Saturday, taking the stage and the sprinter’s jersey in the process. With four competitors less than 30 seconds behind O’Neill after Friday’s time trial — and 44 seconds of bonuses up for grabs — Health Net-Maxxis had one objective in the 90-minute competition: defend. And defend the team did, riding as a compact eight-man unit at or near the front for nearly the entire race, taking most of the inter-race time bonuses and handily reeling in all attacks. And once the defensive objective

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By Ben Delaney

Menzies en route to winning two sprints and the crit

Menzies en route to winning two sprints and the crit

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Health Net-Maxxis successfully defended Nathan O’Neill’s lead in the Redlands Bicycle Classic criterium Saturday, taking the stage and the sprinter’s jersey in the process.

Did I really get it? Say, where is everybody?

Did I really get it? Say, where is everybody?

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

With four competitors less than 30 seconds behind O’Neill after Friday’s time trial — and 44 seconds of bonuses up for grabs — Health Net-Maxxis had one objective in the 90-minute competition: defend. And defend the team did, riding as a compact eight-man unit at or near the front for nearly the entire race, taking most of the inter-race time bonuses and handily reeling in all attacks. And once the defensive objective was accomplished, Health Net’s Karl Menzies sprinkled a little more sugar on the day, winning the race by a few bike lengths.

“Our main thing was to keep Toyota out of the time bonuses,” said Menzies, who won the sprinter’s jersey doing just that. “We weren’t going for the sprint jersey; we were just taking out the time bonuses.”

Pic wasn't at all excited about winning the crit

Pic wasn’t at all excited about winning the crit

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Menzies won two intermediate sprints and placed second in another before winding up his winning jump with three tight corners to go. Toyota-United fumbled a bit in setting up a train for J.J. Haedo, and with a lap to go Toyota-United’s Sean Sullivan was on the front followed by three Jelly Belly jerseys. Jelly Belly’s Matty Rice soon took over, with teammates Alex Candelario and Brice Jones tucked in behind. On the fast downhill straight leading into the acute third-from-last turn, Menzies started coming around Candelario’s lead-out for Jones. Then Haedo made a desperate move into the tight turn to overtake Menzies on the outside. It was there Haedo’s race ended, his wheels washing out and his body hitting the asphalt.

“I honestly didn’t think Karl was going to make it through that right-hand corner,” said Jones, who finished second. “He was coming in hot, and we had the inside line. Somehow Karl made it through, but he and Alex got tangled up a little bit. That’s when J.J. crashed. I had to hit the brakes. Karl had a good 20 meters on me, and I just never made up any ground.”

. . . in defense of O'Neill's lead

. . . in defense of O’Neill’s lead

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Vassili Davidenko (Navigators) took third.

In the women’s race, Kristin Armstrong (Team Lipton) commanded two time-bonus sprints to take the overall race lead. Following Friday’s time trial Armstrong sat 3.69 seconds behind Amber Neben (SC Velo). Riding on a composite team, Neben was unable to defend against Lipton’s orchestrated lead-outs, spearheaded by sprinter Laura Van Gilder who still managed third place after her efforts.

Jelly Belly on the front

Jelly Belly on the front

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

“Our number one goal going into this race today was moving into the leader’s jersey,” Armstrong said. “You can’t have goals of winning the stage, having the leader’s jersey and getting the sprinter’s jersey. We focused on what we wanted to and we came out with the yellow jersey.”

Colavita’s Tina Pic won the criterium by attacking with four corners to go. She went early after T-Mobile’s Ina Teutenberg maneuvered her out of position.

Sayers and Baldwin

Sayers and Baldwin

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

“I was thrown in the wind, and I was like, ‘Oh forget it, I’ll just go,’” Pic said. “I thought I’d just try to catch them off guard because I was afraid to try and pass in the corners.”

Although Teutenberg jumped on her wheel, Pic’s plan worked through the dicey corners. Before the final corner Teutenberg tried but failed to come around Pic. At the finish it was the same story.

They worship this race here in Redlands

They worship this race here in Redlands

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

“Tina went from really early on, perhaps 500 meters,” Teutenberg said. “I was pretty much on her wheel, but she is so strong getting out of the corners. I tried to jump her before the last corner but she wouldn’t let me. She was so strong out there today to hold it at the end after leading it out.”

Heading into the race’s final stage, Sunday’s Sunset Loop road race, Health Net-Maxxis and Toyota-United each have two men in the top four, with Kodak-Sierra Nevada’s Ben Jacques-Maynes muscling his way into fifth with a criterium time bonus. In the women’s race, Armstrong holds a four-second lead over Neben with Webcor’s Christine Thorburn eight seconds back.

In addition to two more time-bonus sprints, the climber’s competition comes into play in Sunday’s 148km men’s and 100km women’s races. Riders will start and finish on the criterium course, with multiple laps on the hilly circuit in between. Riders from many teams have promised to attack when the road tilts upward.

“It’s time to pull out all the stops,” said Toyota-United director Harm Jansen. “It is time for a showdown.”

Beaver Medical Group Criterium
Top 10 (unofficial)

1. Karl Menzies, Health Net-Maxxis, 1:30:32
2. Brice Jones, Jelly Belly, same time
3. Vassili Davidenko, Navigators Insurance, s.t.
4. Dan Schmatz, Kodakgallery.com-Sierra Nevada, s.t.
5. Bruno Langlois, AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork , s.t.
6. Victor Ayala, Kahala LaGrange, s.t.
7. Frank Pipp, Target Training, s.t.
8. Richard England, Priority Health, s.t.
9. Mark McCormack, Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, s.t.
10. Trent Wilson, Jittery Joe’s, s.t.

Women
1. Tina Pic , Colavita-Cooking Light, 59:49
2. Ina Teutenberg, T-Mobile, same time
3. Laura Van Gilder, Team Lipton, s.t.
4. Anne Samplonius, Team Biovail, s.t.
5. Lauren Franges, Victory Brewing Team, s.t.
6. Kristin Armstrong, Team Lipton, s.t.
7. Laura Bowles, Victory Brewing, s.t.
8. Amber Neben, SC Velo, s.t.
9. Charm Breon, Cheerwine, s.t.
10. Christine Thorburn, Webcor-Platinum , s.t.

Overall top 10
Men

1. Nathan O’Neill, Health Net-Maxxis, 1:39:49
2. Chris Baldwin, Toyota-United, at 0:12
3. Scott Moninger, Health Net-Maxxis), at 0:15
4. Heath Blackgrove, Toyota-United, at 0:22
5. Ben Jacques-Maynes, Kodakgallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 0:23
6. Justin England, Toyota-United, at 0:24
7. Karl Menzies, Health Net-Maxxis, at 0:26
8. Will Frischkorn, TIAA-CREF, at 0:38
9. Phil Zajicek, Navigators Insurance, at 0:42
10. Chris Wherry, Toyota-United, at 0:43

Women
1. Kristin Armstrong, Team Lipton, 1:10:35
2. Amber Neben, SC Velo, at 0:05
3. Christine Thorburn, Webcor-Platinum , at 0:09
4. Kimberly Baldwin, T-Mobile, at 0:19
5. Alisha Lion, Team Kenda Tire, at 0:46
6. Kimberly Anderson, T-Mobile, at 0:52
7. Anne Samplonius, Team Biovail, at 1:01
8. Dotsie Bausch, Colavita-Cooking Light, s.t.
9. Ina Teutenberg, T-Mobile, at 1:03
10. Charm Breon, Cheerwine, at 1:17

Complete results

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