Chris Horner, Kristin Armstrong among marquee names for 32nd Redlands Bicycle Classic

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Chris Horner, the 2013 Vuelta a España champion, and two-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong are among the marquee names participating at the 32nd annual Redlands Bicycle Classic, held April 6-10 in California.

The Redlands Classic, presented by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Organizing Committee, is the first stage race of the 2016 USA Cycling Pro Road Tour, which kicks off this weekend in Alabama.

Twenty-five men’s teams and 19 women’s teams will contest the longest continually running stage race in the United States.

Horner, a four-time Redlands Classic winner, will be competing with his new Lupus Racing Team at the five-stage race. The 44-year-old finished seventh overall last year behind winner Phil Gaimon, who will not defend his title.

“Redlands feels like home,” Horner said. “I grew up in San Diego so I am very comfortable there. I stay with a great family I have known for over 20 years; the organization and volunteers are great. I started racing Redlands in the early 90s, as an amateur.”

The Lupus team will have its work cut out in the form of Rally Cycling, which brings several riders who have had success at Redlands in the past, including Evan Huffman, Danny Pate, and Tom Zirbel.

Other dangerous men’s teams include Holowesko-Citadel, which brings Robin Carpenter, Rob Squire, and Travis McCabe, and Jelly Belly-Maxxis, which brings Lachlan and Angus Morton, Jacob Rathe, and Taylor Sheldon.

Team Jamis will also be fighting for the overall, along with stage wins, bringing Colombian climbers Janier Acevedo and Luis Amaran, as well as Argentinean sprinter Sebastian Haedo.

“The biggest difference from racing those early years is the competition,” Horner continued. “The riders train better, and harder, the diet is better, the recovery, everything is better. It was all amateurs when I started, now everyone trains more professionally, there’s so much more information out there. You have to remember, when I started racing Redlands, there wasn’t even internet. Now everybody know so much more. We were racing for fun, now it’s so competitive.”

Armstrong, 42, is vying for an Olympic spot in August and will compete with her Twenty 16-Ridebiker team. The race’s third stage is a hilly 7.1-mile time trial that Armstrong will surely target. She’ll be backed by a strong squad that includes junior world champion Chloe Dygart, as well as cyclocross star Kaitie Antonneau.

“The Redlands Classic has always been a favorite of mine,” Armstrong said.”The organization and volunteers are top-notch. The courses have a reputation for being challenging, which provides for great racing throughout the week. I can’t think of a better race to kick off the season with my team after their return from Europe.”

Other well-known names in the women’s peloton include Amber Neben (Dare To Be Project), a two-time winner of the event, and Mara Abbott (Amy D. Foundation), the defending champion. Abbott took her first pro win in 2007 atop the summit of Oak Glen, the defining climb of the race.

“We are very pleased with the level of talent and competition that is descending on Redlands” said Redlands Bicycle Classic marketing director, Scott Welsh. “Besides returning to the iconic Oak Glen Stage, we have world class talent in both the men’s and women’s fields, and an international flavor of talented racers that will no doubt shred the roads of the 2016 Redlands Bicycle Classic.”

CyclingTips will be hosting exclusive video coverage of the 2016 Redlands Cycling Classic. U.S. Editor Neal Rogers will be on the ground, proving race reports and features, as well as contributing to the race call alongside Frankie Andreu and Brad Sohner. Video will be live-streamed on the weekend, with delayed streams during the week.

For more information, including race times, distances, and volunteer opportunities, visit the race web site, like it on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 6
Stage 1 – Highland Circuit Race for Women: 14 laps, 41.3 miles
Stage 1 – Highland Circuit Race for Men: 20 laps, 58.1 miles

Thursday, April 7
Stage 2 – City of Yucaipa Road Race for Men: 6 laps, 90 miles
Stage 2 – City of Yucaipa Road Race for Women: 4 laps, 61.8 miles

Friday, April 8
Stage 3 – Greenspot Time Trial for Women: 7.1 miles
Stage 3 – Greemspot Time Trial for Men: 7.1 miles

Saturday, April 9
Stage 4 – City of Redlands Criterium for Women: 1-mile course (60 minutes)
Stage 4 – City of Redlands Criterium for Men: 1-mile course (90 minutes)

Sunday, April 10
Stage 5 – Beaver Medical Group Sunset Road Race for Women: 9 laps, 68.1 miles
Stage 5 – Beaver Medical Group Sunset Road Race for Men: 12 laps, 94.1 miles

Here is a list of all teams participating in the five-day stage race.

Men’s Teams
Arapahoe Resources
Astellas Cycling Team
Avanti IsoWhey Sports
Axeon Hagens Berman
Canyon Bicycles – Shimano
Cylance – Incycle
Echelon-Storck Development Team
Elbowz Racing
Elevate-Bicycle World
EP Cyclists
H&R Block
Herbalife-Marc Pro-Nature’s Bakery
Holowesko-Citadel-Hincapie Sportswear
Jelly Belly-Maxxis
Mike’s Bikes-Equator Coffee
Rally Cycling
Silber Bici Shop
Support Clean Sport-SeaSucker-Guttenplan Coaching
Trek Red Truck-Mosaic Homes

Women’s Teams
Amy D. Foundation
Canadian National
Canyon Bicycles-Shimano
Conade-Visit México-UAEM
Groove Subaru-Excel Sports
Hagens Berman-Supermint
Happy Tooth Dental Pro
NorthStar Development
QCW Cycling-JL Velo
Rally Cycling
The Cyclery-Opus
The Dare To Be Project
Trek Red Truck-Mosaic Homes
Twenty16 RideBiker
Visit Dallas DNA

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