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by Shane Stokes
May 5, 2017
Pozdnyakov wins stage two of the Tour d’Azerbaidjan; Tvetcov, Neben take opening time trial at Redlands Bicycle Classic; Bardiani riders Pirazzi and Ruffoni test positive on eve of Giro d’Italia; Quintana: ‘I don’t know if it’s possible to win the Giro and the Tour in the same year’; Thomas: ‘Myself and Landa are not the favourites’; Pinot hoping to shine but says final buildup hasn’t been ideal; Jungels deflects pressure but is ready for Giro; Gaviria names goals for first Grand Tour; Van Damme still waiting to declare intentions about UCI presidency; Tour organisers and others push against Le Pen in French presidential election; Cannondale-Drapac announces team for Hammer Series; Video: Science of Cycling – how to be an elite cyclist; Video: Giro course recap; Video: Climber sprint
It was a world champion and a national champion taking top honors at the opening stage of the 33rd annual Redlands Bicycle Classic, with Amber Neben (TK) and Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly) taking both stage honors and the first race leader’s jerseys. Heat was a factor for the opening stage, with temperatures reaching the mid-90’s. Many riders were seen wearing cooling vests and ice socks during their warm-up. The time trial kicked off the 5-day stage race, a change from previous years where the TT fell in the middle of the race week.
Tvetcov, the Romanian national TT champion, crossed the finish of the 7.1-mile (11km) individual time trial a mere half-second faster than UnitedHealthcare’s Gavin Mannion, with a time of 14:40:29. Mannion’s teammate, Alex Cataford finished third, two seconds back. “I didn’t realize until I got to the finish line and was told I was in first position by half a second,” Tvetcov said. “I didn’t feel like I was really fast because the legs after altitude and Tour of the Gila are pretty heavy. I’m pretty happy, but the GC is wide open. We just arrived on Saturday, and it’s really hot here and that’s a big difference. This is an important race for us, it’s not a training race.”
Podium, Stage 1 time trial, 2017 Redlands Bicycle Classic. From left: Leah Thomas (Sho-Air TWENTY20), Amber Neben (The Dare To Be Project), and Ruth Winder (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling).
Neben (Dare To Be Project) won the Greenspot Individual Time Trial ahead of Leah Thomas (Sho-Air Twenty20) and Ruth Winder (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling). The world TT champion covered hilly course in 16 minutes and 25 seconds, 18 seconds faster than Thomas.
“I had no idea what to expect. After the turnaround I was afraid I wasn’t fast enough, I was a little under geared, but I was fast enough going out so it worked out,” Neben said. “It’s good to get the win the first day,” Neben said. “Because of the stage swaps, I think the racing will be aggressive because no one is waiting for anything. For me, I was gunning for the time trial, the rest is cherry on top if it happens.”