February 13/04 2:23 am - Bike Company Looking for Riders to Sponsor, Redlands Announces New Stage for 2004
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Redlands Classic Adds New Stage
Courtesy Redlands Bicycle Classic media
REDLANDS - A 90-mile stage race that winds its way through parts of Phelan, Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia, Lake Silverwood and concludes in Crestline, has been added to the 2004 Redlands Bicycle Classic. The stage could, perhaps, be considered the most difficult stage in the 20-year history of the Redlands Bicycle Classic, which will be held on March 23-28. The Crestline Road Race will be held on the second day, March 24, at 11 a.m., starting in Phelan.
"The folks up in Crestline want us there," said Ron Mutter, the Redlands Classic official who designed the newly-created course. "I think the course resembles something from the Tour de France." Mutter said four cities, including Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia and Adelanto, were each agreeable to the prospects of having the race come through on their respective roads. A separate women's race will be started in Adelanto and follow the men's race to Crestline. Together with Redlands Bicycle Classic Director Jim Reed, the two men helped design a race that should stiffen the competition for the overall yellow jersey - the top prize in a bicycle event. "We started on this two months ago, maybe six weeks," said Technical Director Mutter. "I've never designed a course before. There are rolling hills, sharp turns, a lot of climbing."
This stage will replace the Highland Circuit race which has been a part of the Redlands Classic for many years. "We appreciate all the great support we have received from Highland over the years, but our number one request from racers has been another point-to-point road race," said Marketing Director, Craig Kundig. "Changes in the race format are needed to keep the event interesting and challenging. Every year the Tour de France drastically changes its routes rotating among its famous climbs and finishes. The Classic has done several different stages in Highland. We may be asking to return to the streets of Highland in the future."
The new event will favor the mountain-climbing specialist, often considered the top cyclist on most teams. Two-time defending champion Chris Horner, along with ex-Saturn star Trent Klasna, are among the top cyclists expected to battle some 200 cyclists on this course. Among the females, defending champion Genevieve Jeanson is expected to be a heavy favorite should she return to try and win for the third time in four years at Redlands.
The new Crestline stage has been approved by Union Cycliste Internationale officials. UCI rules govern this event.
The six-day Stage Race is scheduled as follows:
March 23 - Prologue, Mount Rubidoux Time Trial in Riverside, 11 a.m. (women), 12:45 p.m. (men).
March 24 - Crestline Road Race, 11 a.m. (men), from Phelan, 11:45 a.m. (women) from Adelanto.
March 25 - Oak Glen Road Race, 9 a.m. (men), from Redlands; 9:45 a.m. (women), from Lake Matthews.
March 26 - Panorama Point Road Race, 9:30 a.m. (women); 12 noon (men).
March 27 - Criterium, 2 p.m. (women); 3:30 p.m. (men).
March 28 - Sunset Road Race, 10 a.m. (women); 1:30 p.m. (men).