REDLANDS, California (April 16, 2023) — Skylar Schneider made it two for two, out-sprinting Marlies Mejias of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twenty24 for the win in the final stage at the 37th Annual Redlands Bicycle Classic. Schneider’s sister Samantha, a decorated sprinter in her own right, rounded the podium for third.
The L39ion of Los Angeles duo had been part of a select group that split the field early on, establishing a solid advantage. Emily Ehrlich joined the move for Twenty24, keeping tabs on any attempted moves by the GC favorites, entering the downtown circuits to secure her first overall victory at Redlands.
“It was awesome, the whole team was spectacular,” Ehrlich said. “We were playing defense, its what we had to do.”
L39ion meanwhile were not a threat for the overall, allowing them the freedom of opportunity. The team began another spectacular day of racing on this final stage in Downtown Redlands, confident of another solid result.
“The race was brutal, it was my first time doing it. Every year I hear how hard it is and how iconic,” Skylar said at the finish. “Not only the climb, but you have to be really focused because it’s such a fast downhill.”
Both sisters Sam and Skylar, are known for their strength in sprinting, with Sam having had so much success on the crit scene for many years and Skylar getting experience racing on the WorldTour. Redlands was the first race of the season for L39ion and Skylar’s debut at Redlands with the first chance of the year to test her sprint.
“We had numbers coming into the circuit, Skylar wanted to win it so we set it up,” Sam added. “She got the job done so it’s always a good idea when it happens.”
“I think it came down to good teamwork,” Skylar said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a crit or a road race, the team cohesion is a big advantage for us so we’ll try and keep the momentum going.”
There was a lot of action happening throughout the day from kilometer zero. The stage did not have a neutral zone rollout, where riders usually have a chance to stretch their legs before the battle begins. Instead, it was full gas from the whistle. The sprint points classification was also very close, with only 3 points seperating Holly Breck of DNA Pro Cycling and Rylee McMullen of Instafund Racing. Breck held an 8-point lead on McMullen at the start of the day. In the end, it was Twenty24 racing to the finish to celebrate.
“Whenever they attacked we were up there so it was perfect,” Ehrlich said. “It’s the biggest win of my racing career. I have only been racing seriously for three or four seasons, but this is everybody’s win. The whole team was amazing.”
Marcela Prieto (Patobike) had been 39-seconds down at the start. Once the front group was established, it became very difficult for any attacks to stick with so many GC contenders in the group. The Mexican GC contender would finish second overall. Melisa Rollins remained in third to complete the podium for Twenty24.
There had been four QOM intermediate points, and valuable sprint points as well. Nadia Gontova (Red Truck) was six points down on Kathleen Abadie (Fount Cycling) in the QOM competition. Gontova was sitting in the top five on GC and was focused on the overall, allowing Abadie to secure enough points to confirm her win in the queen of the mountains classification.
In the battle for the green points classification, the race was really tight. McMullen was trailing Breck by 3-points at the start of the day. Both had made the GC selection group, but after Breck’s efforts to secure the jersey on Saturday, the DNA rider lost contact in the last few laps.
The battled heated up so that announcers and officials alike were checking their math to see who would don the final green jersey to secure its victory. Breck was dropped in the final two laps, losing valuable time as the gap continued to increase. Breck dug deep; crossing the line having left everything she had on the road to win the green sprint leaders classification by only two points.
Caitlin Howell of Terun Elite missed the early move and would lose the Best Amateur jersey for Terun Elite in doing so. Alia Shafi scooped it up white racing in the GC select group, working for her team leader fighting for the QOM, Kathleen Abadie.
Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twenty24 also secured the overall team classification of the Redlands Classic to close the first chapter of stage racing on the North American circuit for 2023.
WOMEN’S OVERALL GC
|PLACE||LAST NAME||FIRST NAME||BIB #||TEAM NAME||TIME||TIME BEHIND||COUNTRY|
|1||Ehrlich||Emily||332||Virginia’s Blue Ridge TWENTY24||9:21:02||0:00:00||USA|
|2||Prieto Castaneda||Marcela Elizabeth||353||PatoBike||9:21:35||0:00:33||MEX|
|3||Rollins||Melisa||336||Virginia’s Blue Ridge TWENTY24||9:21:43||0:00:41||USA|
|4||Quinones||Laurel||335||Virginia’s Blue Ridge TWENTY24||9:22:22||0:01:20||USA|
|5||Powless||Shayna||327||DNA Pro Cycling||9:22:49||0:01:47||USA|
|6||Barrera||Anet||321||DNA Pro Cycling||9:22:50||0:01:48||MEX|
|9||*Shafi||Alia||416||Fount Cycling Guild||9:23:36||0:02:34||USA|
|10||Mejias Garcia||Marlies||334||Virginia’s Blue Ridge TWENTY24||9:23:54||0:02:52||CUB|