Stage Two 1.2 mile downtown Redlands criterium race, sponsored by 1st Centennial Bank/KWB Wealth Managers, brought numerous attacks and a bunch sprint finish. 19-year-old Swedish star Emilia Fahlin from Team High Road sprinted across the finish line and took the biggest win of her young career. Alex Wrubleski, from Webcor Builders, and Brenda Lyons, from Advil/Chapstick rounding out the top three. Mara Abbott, from High Road continued her lead in overall points.

Stage 2 Women's Finish

"This course has a lot of corners and fast laps, which I like," said Fahlin, who is a first time Redlands Bicycle Classic participant. "Everyone talks about this race. It's a big goal for the team." Fahlin fought her way to the end, knowing she was to protect the lead of Mara Abbott and take time bonus seconds away from the opposing GC riders. "After I took off seconds for the first bonus I was a little tired, so I had to push it." Fahlin took the time bonus sprint at the half way mark and then again at the finish.

"The race went according to plan," continued Fahlin. "Since we only had four riders, it was perfect to have other teams do the work. Hopefully they will be tired tomorrow. With two laps to go Cheerwine and Webcor started to pull hard. I think the last lap was all Cheerwine but I saw that they were starting to get tired in the last decent before the last two corners. With the two corners to go I saw a rider come out and I just jumped on her wheel and came out around her in the last corner. It was really fun!"

Cheerwine was very aggressive for the entire race staying up front attacking. "It was a very technical course," commented Cheerwine's Stacy Marple. "A lot of stuff can happen in the last three corners on that course. This race really did come down to the last three corners."

Cheerwine Attacks in Stage 2

"It was a really fast race," stated Wrubleski. "I think people wanted to break but because the pace was so fast they couldn't. No one really tried to go out on a break. It was pretty obvious then that it was going to come down to a bunch sprint. We wanted to make the pace fast because we have a better chance of winning with me when it's really fast. We wanted the tempo hard. We actually started this early and then had Cheerwine ride with us. Obviously they were riding hard for Laura (VanGilder). They wanted to get on the podium too."

"The teams I was really expecting to be driving did, that would be Cheerwine, High Road, Webcor and Aaron's was present. They were trying to keep the pace really high," observed Lyons. "My goal on the day was to be in the right spot at the right time and follow the right wheels. I wanted to take the race in those final turns the best I could and I was able to make it on the podium."

First time Redlands participant, 17-year old Jackie Kurth from Kenda Tires commented, "The race was fast. The whole time I was focused on moving up and staying up in the front. Cheerwine was definitely driving the race in the last lap. It was fast today, but a lot of fun, and I am ready to ride another crit."

"We did absolutely the best that we could do," stated GC Leader Abbott. "Emilia and Kim were absolutely fabulous out there today. They did a great job of covering the attacks. I was able to ride and get some rest for tomorrow. It was a great feeling to have confidence in your teammates."

Fahlin's teammate, looks forward to tomorrow's Sunset race closer. "Every year Sunset is a good race, with something unexpected always happening. That's one of the things I like I can't wait to do it again. It's a great course."

"This is Emilia's fourth win in California," stated High Road owner, Bob Stapleton. "We really wanted to give her a chance to ride here. She was in the right position today. She had the chance to go for it and she did. She gave it her all. She is only 19 years old. We wanted to have her race and gain some confidence and she has really made the most of it. She has really shown a lot of maturity. I have a bunch of young girls riding here. There is a chance for us to grow some young talent."

Stage 2 Women's Podium

Stage 2 Results

1 Emilia Fahlin (High Road) 11.28.00
2 Alex Wrubleski (Webcor Builders)
3 Brenda Lyons (Advil / Chapstick)
4 Samantha Schneider (Colavita/Sutter/Cooking Light)
5 Rebecca Larson (Aaron's)
6 Katharine Carroll (Aaron's)
7 Nichole Wangsgard (Colavita/Sutter/Cooking Light)
8 Shontell Gauthier (Colavita/Sutter/Cooking Light)
9 Laura VanGilder (Cheerwine)
10 Marni Hambleton (Value Act Capital)

GC After Stage 2

1 Mara Abbott (High Road) 4.15.17
2 Alex Wrubleski (Webcor Builders) 0.11
3 Katharine Carroll (Aaron's) 0.14
4 Kim Anderson (High Road) 0.23
5 Leigh Hobson (Cheerwine) 0.25
6 Christine Thorburn (Webcor Builders) 0.31
7 Tiffany Cromwell (Colavita/Sutter/Cooking Ligh) 0.39
8 Anne Samplonius (Cheerwine) 0.40
9 Julie Beveridge (Aaron's) 0.55
10 Kristin Sanders (Aaron's) 1.08

All photos copyright Stephanie Gutowski