Big Bear Continues its Quest as a Cycling Powerhouse in Southern California
Big Bear Lake, CA March 28, 2014 – In 2010 and 2012 Big Bear Lake was a host city for Amgen Tour of California, which is considered the largest and most prestigious road cycling race in the USA. Last year, Redlands Bicycle Classic, another premier-domestic race on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, included Big Bear as one of its five stages. This year the Redlands Bicycle Classic returns to Big Bear for the second consecutive year for the Stage 2 Time Trials Thursday, April 3. These elite professional road cycling events held in Big Bear demonstrates that Big Bear is well-received by the industry as a premier cycling destination.
“The riders really enjoyed the mountain setting and high altitude challenge last year, and they’re even more inclined to race the course in 2014,” said Redlands Bicycle Classic Director Eric Reiser.
The Stage 2 Time Trials in Big Bear, referred to as the Race of Truth, is an out and back course on the north shore. The 7.8 miles course starts and ends west of Stanfield Cutoff near the East Launch Ramp. The course leads racers into the town of Fawnskin, which is the turnaround point for racers to sprint back to the finish line. The course is challenging for the riders because of the demanding high-altitude environment.
“This course will definitely get the racers hearts pounding and lungs scorching,” said Big Bear Cycling President Craig Smith.
One of the key reasons why the Redlands Bicycle Classic chose to return to Big Bear is it gives riders a change of scenery with a beautiful alpine lake and mountain vistas in the background. The community of Big Bear is thrilled to once again show the cycling world that the mountain resort is a premier cycling destination, and continues its quest as a cycling powerhouse for Southern California. For best viewing locations and other spectator information visit www.redlandsclassic.com.
Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) demonstrated that he’s a dangerous sprinter, edging out Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) for the Los Angeles Stage 8 win. Omega Pharma-QuickStep led their rider into the last turn. But Peter Sagan, propelled by Liquigas-Cannondale, powered through the last 150 feet and barely hit the finish line before Tom Boonen.
The day began with a neutral city start in Beverly Hills, with a hazy 73 degrees and a two mph wind. The terrain was a mix of flat stretches and small hills, totaling just under 43 miles.
Michael Creed (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies) led the first attack 30 minutes through the course. He was followed out by Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Barracuda), Timothy Roe (BMC Pro Cycling), Christopher Jones (United HealthCare), and Matt Cooke (Team Exergy).
Robert Gesink (Rabobank), yesterday’s stage winner, remained insulated within the peleton. His goal was the overall win. Risks were not necessary today.
A new break formed creating a 45 second gap. It was composed of Ben Jacques Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling), Rory Sutherland (United HealthCare), Nathan Haas (Garmin-Barracuda), Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano), Scott Zwizanski (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies), Morgan Schmitt (Team Exergy,) and Jasper Stuyven (Bontrager-Livestrong). Each team tried to keep someone out front while Rabobank set the pace at the front of the peloton.
The race leaders entered the finishing circuit, a five mile loop from Pico Blvd. to Temple Street. Riders had to complete 6 laps, each time studying the dangerous last turn for the final sprint. The average speed was 30 mph. The seven riders in the break were locked into a 30 second gap.
The second lap continued with Rabobank’s Luis Leon Sanchez and Robert Gesink working together. Haas and Sutherland traded the lead in the break. The fast 30 mph pace continued as the riders pushed over the line to begin lap three of six. The peleton showed discipline and remained in the shape of an arrowhead, narrowing the break to 17 seconds.
With three laps remaining, a rider from Orica GreenEDGE moved into the front of the peleton, Rabobank was happy to share the workload. Lap 5 saw the seven rider gap close to 15 seconds. Team Rabobank still controlled of the pace.
Rory Sutherland (United HealthCare), a superb time trialist, charged from the break with Nathan Haas (Garmin-Barracuda) off his back wheel. The racers still had five miles left to the finish. Stage 8 is considered a sprinters’ stage and expectations were high for a “sprint royale.” The announcers wondered if the rest of the peleton was aware of Nathan Haas’ prolific win record which includes the Japan Cup. This is his first chance riding for a big team.
The peleton started to pick up speed and brought the break back to ten seconds. Robert Gesink was sitting comfortably in third position with his “domestiques” taking first and second position. Liquigas-Cannondale formed to the right of center bringing up Peter Sagan. Garmin-Barracuda formed on the left with their man, Henrich Haussler. The 110 riders lifted the pace to 35 mph.
Rory Sutherland and Nathan Haas took turns attacking out of the break. Unfortunately, it seemed to slow the average speed of the break.
Tom Boonen’s Team, Omega Pharma-QuickStep moved to the front of the peleton, challenging Liquigas-Cannondale. They formed an impressive lead out train, flying past the last corner. But the pace of Boonen’s acceleration was not enough to beat out green jersey sprinter, Peter Sagan. He powered through the last 150 feet and swiped the finish from Boonen’s grasp.
Gesink finished with the peleton, taking the overall win of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California. Sebastian Salas (Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies) won the King of the Mountain Jersey. The sprinter’s Green Rider Jersey was awarded to Peter Sagan. Jeremy Vennel (Bissell Pro Cycling) received the Most Aggressive Rider Jersey. The crowd roared in response to retiring Robbie McEwen (Orica GreenEDGE) as he received the Most Courageous Rider Jersey. Wilco Kelderman (Rabobank) received the Young Riders Jersey.
The cyclists rode a total of nearly 750 miles through Northern, Central and Southern California. They embraced heat, unending mountainous climbs and long hours on the course. It was an exciting and unpredictable race. Many of us will continue on to the Tour de France in July; followed by the Olympics. The Amgen Tour of California has set the bar!