The Redlands Classic kicks off the 2014 USA Cycling National Calendar. In its 30 year history this California five-day stage race has had riders develop into grand tour and one-day classics champions. Along those lines Felt Bicycles is proud to support five teams racing in the Redlands Classic in the men and women professional categories.
In the men’s peloton the Hincapie Sportswear Development Team, Horizon Organic/Einstein BrosBagels, and Athlete Octane are towing the line. Team Twenty/16 and Jet Cycling are racing in the professional women’s field.
Felt sponsored racers have a long history at the Redlands Classic. Chris Horner, racing for Nutra Fig and aboard an aluminum Felt, finished second in the 1996 edition, just 13 seconds behind the U.S. Postal Team. Along the way Felt bikes have earned several stage victories with J.J. Haedo and Ivan Dominguez in this well respected stage race.
The 2014 Redlands Classic stages are hilly, in addition to the weekend’s technical downtown criterium, so a bike must be lightweight, responsive, and stiff. With that in mind the Felt sponsored teams are aboard the FC model bikes for the road stages, and for the Big Bear time trial the aerodynamic DA1 is put into service.
Before the start of the Redlands Classic the Hincapie Sportswear Team dropped by the Felt office for a quick visit. The Redlands squad was in town for a training camp in preparation for the Redlands Classic. Around the lunch table between bites of food there was a lot of talk from the riders stating they were going to win the overall classification. At first pass this could be seen as bravado from a group of young racers, chomping at the bit and looking to prove themselves in their first major race of the year. It didn’t take long for them to back that claim up.
The black and gray kit of the Hincapie squad lead-out Dion Smith taking the win on day one, a 94.5 mile stage. His win put him in the yellow jersey of the race.
The New Zealand born rider said in a post-stage interview, “The boys rode really well in the last couple of laps keeping us at the front.”
Look for this winning trend to continue with the Hincapie boys as they set their sights on the Silver City Tour of the Gila. The professional peloton has been warned.