Winder locks in overall win at Redlands Classic after stage 5 victory
Women take overall win, KOM, and stage wins at 2017 Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Katie Hall finishes third on GC and claims Queen of the Mountains jersey, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling best GC team
REDLANDS, Calif. – Ruth Winder added yet another stellar result to her 2017 season palmares Sunday, sealing overall victory at Redlands Cycling Classic for her UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team.
“I need a moment for it all to sink in,” Winder said after the finish. “I don’t believe it right now. I have an amazing bunch of teammates who helped me every step of the way. It’s just incredible. Our plan worked out perfectly.”
After five days of racing in and around the San Bernardino mountains, the team’s performance culminated with five stage podiums, best team classification, the QOM jersey and of course, first and third place overall.
A fairly short and lumpy 7.1-mile (11.5km) individual time trial kicked off Redlands Classic proceedings on May 3. Winder’s time of 16 minutes and 48 seconds placed her in the hot seat as the early leader in the race. At the end of the day, her time was good enough for third, 23 seconds off the pace of the eventual winner and world TT champion Amber Neben (Dare To Be Project).
The next stage, from Yucaipa to Oak Glen, belonged to Katie Hall. Capitalizing on her strong climbing abilities, Hall rode away from race leader Neben on the final slope to Oak Glen summit and held a 10 second gap to the finish. The move jumped Hall up to second overall and into the red QOM jersey. Winder finished fourth and moved to first in the sprint classification.
“I’ll never get tired of saying that I’m proud of the team for another great performance,” Team Director Rachel Heal said after the second stage. “Katie rode strong on the climb and was set up beautifully by her team.”
It was Rushlee Buchanan’s time to shine on Stage 3’s Highland Circuit Race. The New Zealand national road champion broke away with six other riders in the latter part of the 14 lap, 66 km race to nab third place in the final sprint into the city of Highland.
The penultimate stage was the hour-long downtown Redlands criterium and a fairly quiet affair for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team. Claire Rose (Visit Dallas-DNA) rode off the front early allowing the blue train to set pace in the bunch, keeping the GC contenders out of trouble. Rose won the race and the overall GC remained the same heading into the Sunset Loop Road Race finale.
The last day at Redlands Classic meant crunch time for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team. The plan was to put pressure on the yellow jersey in the latter portion of the nine lap, 67-mile (109km) circuit race.
“In the final couple of laps, we were trying to force Amber to work, have Katie attack and see if she could make the 22 seconds needed to win,” Heal said. “The plan went almost to script. Lauren Hall got into the break, Ruth bridged across and we eventually won. It’s very rare that a far-fetched plan like that actually goes to plan. The entire team did an incredible job to make it happen. I couldn’t be prouder of the team right now.”
Winder took the stage 5 win while Lauren Hall finished second, capping off a near perfect week of racing for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team.
Next stop for the women’s team is the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Empowered by SRAM World Tour stage race beginning May 11 in Lake Tahoe.