By VeloNews Interactive
The three-day Valley of the Sun John Earley Memorial Stage Race kicks off today with an individual time trial in the western Phoenix-metropolitan area.
The 12th annual race continues Saturday with a road race south of Phoenix and concludes Sunday with a criterium downtown, near the State Capitol.
Among the elite men’s teams slated to compete are Colavita-Bolla, featuring U.S. national champion Mark McCormack, Australian national champion Nathan O’Neill and Cuban sprinter Ivan Dominguez; the local Landis-Trek-VW squad, which won the 2003 Tour of the Gila and Vuelta de Bisbee; and Team Monex, including Roberto Gaggioli.
The women’s field will include Team Basis, with 2000 U.S. national champ Nicole Freedman; Team Rona, featuring Geneviéve Jeanson; T-Mobile, including Mari Holden and Lynn Gaggioli; and French superstar Jeannie Longo.
Redlands adds tough stage
The 2004 Redlands Bicycle Classic has added a hilly, 90-mile stage that organizers say could be considered the most difficult in the race’s 20-year history.
The Crestline Road Race, which comes on the second day of the March 23-28 stage race, starts in Phelan and winds through Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia and Lake Silverwood before concluding in Crestline.
The stage replaces the Highland Circuit Race, which has been a part of the Redlands Classic for many years.
“We appreciate all the great support we have received from Highland over the years, but our No. 1 request from racers has been another point-to-point road race,” said marketing director Craig Kundig. “Changes in the race format are needed to keep the event interesting and challenging.”
A separate women ’s race will be started in Adelanto and follow the men’s race to Crestline.