Mancebo Wins Overall Title and House Captures Final Stage
PARK CITY, Utah - The RealCyclist.com Professional Cycling Team scored impressive results at the first USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) event of the season in Redlands, Calif. At the 27th Annual Redlands Bicycle Classic, Team captain Francisco Mancebo captured the race leader's yellow jersey on day one of competition (March 31) and the eight-rider team worked hard the final three days of racing to help Mancebo win the overall title on Sunday. Young gun and sprint specialist Cole House captured a win in the race's prestigious final stage.
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"It was a dream ending to a hard weekend of racing for the team," said RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Director Sportiff Gord Fraser. "Realcyclist.com had many battle plan options on Sunday, but nobody would have predicted we'd win on Mancebo securing time bonuses."
The four-day NRC stage race opened with a Mancebo victory in the uphill 3.1-mile Sun Time Trial. The 35-year-old Spaniard secured the top spot with a one-second gap ahead of Ben Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) and finishing four seconds in front of two-time U.S. Pro Time Trial Champion Chris Baldwin (Juwi Solar-First Solar). Mancebo defended his leader's jersey over the next two stages - a 120.5-mile City of Beaumont Circuit Race and the 90-minute City of Redlands Criterium - and these same three riders would retain their positions for the final General Classification (G.C.).
Mancebo's teammate Cesar Grajales won two King of the Mountain points competitions on Sunday and finished with a strong fifth-place showing on G.C. - just 17 seconds behind. The two veterans were coming off respectable showings at the San Dimas Stage Race earlier in the week, finishing fourth and fifth on G.C., respectively. Also placing well at Redlands were two younger team members - Josh Berry, who was 27th overall and Stage Three winner House, who finished 28th overall.
Sunday's finish came down to the wire. On the strenuous 94-mile Sunset Ridge circuit, Mancebo saw increased pressure from the events top riders and relinquished his lead early. As the race progressed, Mancebo secured two time bonuses which helped him reclaim the lead and ride out of Redlands as the winner of the G.C. House turned on his jets towards the end of the race and narrowly edged Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) for the final stage win.
The RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Team will race at the Sunny King Criterium in Anniston, Ala., April 9, the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, Calif., April 14-17 and the SRAM Tour of the Gila in New Mexico April 27-May 1. The Sunny King Criterium and Tour of the Gila are both NRC events.
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