Teams take on Redlands, first national calendar race of the year

Pro teams with riders from across the southwest such as Smartstop Pro Cycling Team and Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise-4-Good kick off USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar Wednesday with the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

Tucson-based Team Superissimo, led by Chad Beyer, is looking forward to the first big showdown among their U.S. domestic pro counterparts.

“I’m looking forward to a solid race,” Beyer said. “Redlands has good course and a great field of riders. We’ll have to see how the race plays out. Im just getting over being sick so I’m not sure where my fitness is currently, but we are pumped and looking forward to some hard racing.”

The stage race kicks off Wednesday with a circuit race of 41 miles for the women and 58 miles for the men with 25 men’s teams and 19 women’s teams. The riders will then take on a time trial, road race and crit in the following days for a total of four days. Redlands is dubbed “the longest continually running stage race in United States road cycling” by organizers.

“We are very pleased with the level of talent and competition that is descending on Redlands” said Scott Welsh, Redlands marketing director. “We have past champions in both the men’s and women’s field, plus an international flavor of talented racers that will no doubt shred the roads of the 2015 Redlands Bicycle Classic.”

The men’s pro peloton is stacked with nearly 200 riders, including Travis McCabe and Eric Marcotte of Smartstop. Last year team’s season started with McCabe’s Stage 2 Redlands’ win and culminated with Marcotte winning the U.S. Pro Road Race Championship later in the year.

They’ll have their hands full with Chris Horner, who will be racing with his upstart Airgas-Safeway team. Horner, who has raced in the Tour de France, is also a four-time Redlands champion.

Also returning to Redlands is Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies with time-trial specialist Tom Zirbel and 2014 Redlands crit winner Perrick Naud. Daniel Jaramillo (Team Jamis Hagens-Berman), last year’s Redlands King of the Mountain jersey winner, hopes to defend his title.

The women’s pro peloton will include 135 riders, including steep competition from Mara Abbott and Leah Kirchman (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), who wore the yellow leader’s jersey last year and Coryn Rivera (United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team), the U.S. Pro Criterium Champion.

Stepping up on the Twenty 16 p/b SHO-AIR Cycling Team is last year’s Best Amateur jersey winner, Jess Cerra, who will be kicking off her 2015 racing season at Redlands. Former Redlands overall winner, Amber Neben, will also be hoping to perform well with Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise-4-Good team and extend her success as the overall winner at San Dimas to another weekend of racing.

“Looking over the entry list for this year’s race is pretty incredible,” said race director Eric Reiser. “There is little doubt in my mind that there will be fireworks in both fields with the fierce talent that is coming to Redlands.”

For more information, including race times, distances, and volunteer opportunities, visit

Sarah Muench