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Redlands could come down to final stage

Slipstream-Chipotle’s Tom Danielson, Rock Racing’s Oscar Sevilla, Health Net-Maxxis’ Rory Sutherland and Toyota-United’s Chris Baldwin will be among the high-caliber riders rolling out of the start house Thursday at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

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Tom Danielson among heavy-hitting starters

By Ben Delaney

Slipstream-Chipotle’s Tom Danielson, Rock Racing’s Oscar Sevilla, Health Net-Maxxis’ Rory Sutherland and Toyota-United’s Chris Baldwin will be among the high-caliber riders rolling out of the start house Thursday at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

In the women’s event, High Road will be the team to beat. Although only five High Road women are listed on the race roster, those five — Mara Abbott, Kim Anderson, Emilia Fahlin, Alex Rhodes and Anke Wichmann — pack a punch. Webcor, led by Christine Thorburn and Katheryn Curi Mattis, will be looking to challenge, along with Value Act Capital, Aaron’s and Cheerwine.

A short, uphill prologue will be followed by a circuit race Friday, a criterium Saturday and a road race Sunday. The circuit race features about 700 feet of climbing per 17-mile lap, and could likely come down to a bunch sprint. If a main bunch finishes together Friday after 138km, the race for the general classification will be decided in the 147km Sunset Road Race that features a climb on each of its five laps.

American Pro Continental team BMC has its A team in California, with climbers Jeff Louder, Scott Nydam, Nathan Miller, Brent Bookwalter and Steve Bovay. Taylor Tolleson, Tony Cruz and Jackson Stewart could all contend for stages.

As to who would lead the team in its run for the GC, team director Gavin Chilcott was noncommittal. “We will have everybody pull out all the stops in the prologue and see where the chips fall,” he said.

Defending champion Andy Bajadali will be there with Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast, but he is admittedly not on top form.

Bissell will be led by Ben Jacques-Maynes, Aaron Olson and Burke Swindlehurst.

Cameron Evans, current Canadian national champion and winner of this past weekend’s San Dimas Stage Race, will lead the Symmetrics team.

Sevilla, who lost San Dimas to Evans by a solitary second, will be joined by Rock teammates Tyler Hamilton, Mike Creed, Santiago Botero, David Clinger, Victor Hugo Peña, Fred Rodriguez and Kayle Leogrande.

The men in black in green will likely face stiff opposition from and Toyota-United, which also have their A teams ready to roll.

Check VeloNews.com starting Friday for daily reports and photo galleries from Redlands.