Team GC Title, KOM Jersey, and top-10 at Redlands Bicycle Classic
Mannion fourth overall at Redlands Bicycle Classic, Cataford King of the Mountain champion, UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling best team overall with Team GC title.
Mannion fourth overall at Redlands Bicycle Classic, Cataford King of the Mountain champion, UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling best team overall.
REDLANDS, Calif. – The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling men’s team finished up another solid performance at the Redlands Bicycle Classic Sunday, clinching the GC team classification, the KOM jersey and fourth overall on general classification. The team also made multiple podium appearances over the course of the five-day stage race in southern California.
“It was a tough, but rewarding week of racing,” Cataford said. “I’m happy to have won the King of the Mountains jersey for the team. We all came together and worked hard and it paid off.”
The 33rd edition of Redlands opened with a short out and back individual time trial. Gavin Mannion finished in second place, less than one second off the pace of winner Sergei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly). Cataford took third, just two seconds away from Tvetcov’s time of 14 minutes and 40 seconds.
“Today was a good TT for the team with myself and Alex taking second and third,” Mannion said afterward. “I’m happy with how it went being a very fast course.”
Stage 2 was a challenging 98-mile (151km) hilly road race from Yucaipa to Oak Glen, the last 15km made up the final climb to the finish, topping off at 10 percent in some places.
“The team rode well and waited for the final climb,” Team Director Sebastian Alexandre said. “Lachlan Norris, Cataford and Mannion were our three climbers and we saved them all day for it. The stage winner, TJ Eisenhart (Holowesko Citadel) sent an early attack in the steep part and no one could follow. He opened a 30 second gap, and new attack went and the leader was dropped. Mannion ended with the responsibility to chase as he was second overall. He ended fourth on stage and Norris finished in ninth place.”
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team was active during Highland Circuit Race, a 59-mile (95km) undulating stage 3 circuit that was ultimately won by Mike Rice (Axeon).
Cataford placed himself in the break of the day, which put pressure on the field, as he was high up in the GC standings. On the last lap the peloton caught the leaders to set up for an uphill sprint finish. Mannion finished fifth with Sebastian Haedo right behind him for sixth. The stage result bumped up Mannion to second overall.
The next day at the downtown criterium, Danny Summerhill was part of a nine-rider break that surprised everyone when it held off a charging peloton after 90 minutes of racing. In the final sprint, Summerhill finished runner up to Gage Hecht (Aevolo).
“It was certainly a hard race,” Summerhill said. “I honestly didn’t think the race would finish with us staying off the front. The young Gage Hecht and I were battling it out every sprint for the green jersey and he just edged ahead of me at the end of the stage. The team did a great job keeping Mannion safe.”
The final chapter of Redlands Classic began with Mannion sitting second on GC and Cataford in the KOM jersey. The next 103 miles (152km) at Sunset Loop Road Race sealed the jersey for Cataford, while Mannion fell to fourth overall, unable to hold his GC podium placing.
“We started the stage with a few goals, win the race, win KOM, keep Mannion safe on GC and win team GC,” Alexandre said. “They did a good job, Lachlan Norris went into the first move and got the points we needed. Alex went in the next move and scored points that helped him win the KOM.
“Rain and hail changed the race with two laps to go. We helped chase Mancebo back, and two guys from our team made it in the front group. Gavin Mannion and Chris Jones secured team GC as there was no other team with the number we had. The team gave everything they had, and I’m proud of them.”
The men’s team head to Amgen Tour of California ProTour event next. The seven-day stage race will be held May 14-20.