HomeNewsRoldan Wins First & Fifth Stages of Redlands Cycling Classic, Kicking Off US Racing Block

Roldan Wins First & Fifth Stages of Redlands Cycling Classic, Kicking Off US Racing Block

Lauren Stephens Takes Second in The Growler Awakens on America’s Hardest One Day Course

Cynisca Mara Roldan bookended the Redlands Cycling Classic with wins in the first and fifth stages. She also posted impressive results in the ITT (4th), criterium (12th) and mountain finish road race (11th) to finish 3rd in the GC. Teammate Chloe Patrick scored a 5th place finish in the criterium, and Nicole Steinmetz placed 17th in the GC after riding strongly all week to support her teammate.

Mara credited her teammates with helping her to the wins. “We had a solid team and a positive mindset – everyone really gave it everything. I couldn’t be more happy with the team.”

Stage 1 Highland (14 x 2.8mi): Under some glorious SoCal sun the team got ready to race the opening stage of the Redlands Bicycle Classic, one of the oldest ongoing bicycle races in America. A very hard little stage with a solid climb to the finish line makes for a rude awakening to bike racing. Tess Edwards and Claire Windsor did an amazing job of making sure Mara and Chloe were always in good position throughout the stage one Highland circuit. After a fast start, the team rode conservatively until the final lap.  There was some aggressive attacking but nothing stuck – no one would commit. Mara remarked, “I was quite surprised because not a lot of people went hard on the second to last climb. I was expecting people to go really hard. Things started to move down the descent. As we got into the chicane, Claire came up and positioned me well towards the front of the pack and gave it everything she had to get me to the front. I just went. I used some other teams’ wheels a bit and gave it everything up the climb.”

Stage 2 Onyx Summit (64.5km / 2370m^): Cynisca sport director William Innes summed up this short (65.7 km), but incredibly hard race. “A hard day at the outdoor office was had by the whole peloton. A stage that was short in mileage but great in elevation gain had the entire group gasping for air as they crossed the finish line at the top of Onyx Summit.”

The Cyniscas protected Mara as best they could, but the steep sections came early shattering the peloton. In the last 15km, there were only about 25 riders left and then riders just started popping off one by one, then in little groups, narrowing the front group to 12. Mara came off around 5 km and the gap grew. There was nothing she could do other than suffer the final kilometers and limit the damage. She finished 11th in the day and dropped to 11th in the GC.

Stage 3 Lake Perris Individual Time Trial (18.8km): With a brand new TT bike and a brand new fit, Mara really went for it, no fear. She moved up to 5th in the GC after storming to a 4th place finish in the ITT. The rest of the team held their places, did well to remain well within the time cut, saving energy for the next two stages.

Stage 4 Downtown Criterium (75 min.): This was a day for our U23 criterium champion Chloe Patrick to shine as she grabbed a 5th place finish in the final sprint. Cara, Tess and Claire rode well to keep Mara installed in the top 20 throughout the race, while teams like DNA and Virginia 2024 fought over the time bonus and premes. It was a race without rhythm or sustained speed which made it tough to navigate. In the end, Kat and Claire were able to drop Chloe into space behind the full DNA / Williams Devo Racing lead-outs, sprinting to 5th behind winner Skyler Schneider.

Stage 5 Sunset Loop Circuit (68.1mi / 109.6km): In the stage 5 Sunset Circuit race, the team had a bit of a scare early on. Innes explained, “Mara’s chain dropped on lap three at the start of the main climbing section, just as some threatening GC riders vaulted up the road. Tess, Claire and Kat came off the front group, to assist Mara. First Tess took a huge pull, then Claire, then Kat gave it a monster effort to reinstall Mara alongside Nicole in the front group of around 20 riders. Mara did her best to recover over the next five laps or so, knowing attacks would come, and they certainly did. She dosed her efforts and was smoothly hiding behind DNA and Virginia Twenty 24 who were relentlessly driving the pace. Jenaya Francis, riding for TAG Cycling Team at the RBC, probed with an attack on lap 8 and no one really followed as she wasn’t a threat on GC. When she really attacked again on Lap 9, Mara jumped across quickly and slammed the hammer down on the accelerator. They quickly got almost a minute gap and were rolling smoothly in a two up, hilly time trial. DNA and Virginia 2024 riders were chasing the two leaders up front, but to no avail. They held it to the final circuits of the criterium course, and out of the final corner, Mara hit the afterburners, easily out sprinting her compatriot, arms aloft across the line with the victory.”

And Meanwhile in Northern California …

Cynisca Lauren Stephens sat out the Redlands Cycling Classic this year to compete in what is billed as the “hardest one day course in America.” After seven-plus hours of racing in wet, cold conditions, Lauren stepped to second place on the podium, just behind fellow pro gravel racer Lauren De Crescenzo and ahead of Sarah Sturm. The Levi Leipheimer’s The Growler Awakens covers 138 miles and 14,000 feet of climbing. The road race’s big purse and long course rife with endless punchy and muddy climbs attracted some of the world’s toughest gravel racers.

“That made my top three hardest days on the bike ever,” said Lauren after the race. Next Lauren is looking forward to joining her teammates at the Tour of the Gila.

  • News
  • April 12, 2024

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