Winner of the 2000 Tour de France KOM, Colombian Santiago Botero (Rock Racing) easily dropped his 5 breakaway companions on the last lap of the Redlands Bicycle Classic Beaumont Stage Race, and won with over fifty seconds gap over his competitors. Sebastian Haedo (Colavita/Sutter Home) won the sprint for second place with Burke Swindlehurst (Bissell) rounding out the podium.

"We needed to do a hard race, the reason because me and the other riders were always in the attack and the breakaways. In the last lap, Mariano told me to attack in the hill, this is your opportunity, Sebastian is fast, you need to take seconds in the general." said Botero after the stage.


Santiago Botero (Rock Racing) cruises to the finish line

"When he attacked, nobody could really try to go with him, the group decided to go steady together to try and close the gap but he was super strong, it was 35 seconds, then .... he was super strong in the climb." said Haedo about Botero's final attack on the last climb.


"Essentially, it just getting windier and windier, the field was chasing behind us and as soon as we hit the climb before the park, Santiago just decided to go to take a little vacation by himself. Not of us really could really have anything to do with it, unfortunately. He was very strong today, like riding behind a motorcycle today all day, it's crazy." said Swindlehurst describing the action on the last lap.


Sebastian Haedo (Colavita/Sutter Home) takes second place ahead of Burke Swindlehurst (Bissell); Francois Parisien (Symmetrics) leads the remaining breakaway riders across the finish

The other breakaway members included Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United), François Parisien (Symmetrics) and James Mattis (Cal Giant) all came in at the same time. The field led by Freddie Rodriguez (Rock Racing) and including yellow jersey Rory Sutherland (HealthNet-Maxxis) came it at over one minute later delivering a shake up in the general classification.

After the day, Botero leads the GC with a 54 seconds lead over Baldwin and one minute and 7 seconds over Parisien. Botero managed to not only win the stage and the leader's jersey, but he also garnered all the other competition jerseys, the KOM and the points jersey. Swindlehurst moved up to fourth place and Sutherland slipped down the standings to fifth place with one minute and thirty seconds behind leader Botero. Sutherland is like a boy with a cart, he has a job ahead of him to try and move up the classifications.

Notes from yesterday's Prologue. Yesterday, some of the men rolled in late for their prologue start, and Tom Zirbel (Bissell) explained the reason this morning. The UCI officials decided that some of the bikes' handlebars were too long, so riders were forced to ride their road bikes or miss their start time trying to adjust their TT bikes. Interestingly, Zirbel had ridden the same bike with the same setup for the last two Tours of California and a bunch of other races with no problems. A few choice words were said by some of the tall riders hit by this issue.

The gory details about Beaumont. Under sunny skies, appreciated by all including yours truly, 194 riders lined up at the start of the 158 km circuit race. As expected, the attacks started early in the race, and the pace was high as riders were already being shelled out of the field in the first lap of the 5 lap race.


Peloton all together including yellow jersey Rory Sutherland (HealthNet-Maxxis) at the beginning of the race

The plan of the day for most was to be attentive for the right move which was expected to include a Toyota-United rider as they had 6 riders in the top 15 coming into the stage.

"Nobody really knew what was going to happen today with it being a new course, there are of opinions, some people saying it's going to be a field sprint, some people saying that it's going to be wide open, we just had to stay really attentive today, that was the main thing, basically follow anything that moved that had a significant in it and that's essentially what happened. " said Swindlehurst.

The right move was initiated by the Jeff Louder (BMC) attack on the second lap quickly joined by Swindlehurst, which while neutralized before the climb. Botero jumped at the top of the KOM, and the other five riders joined to form the power break which managed to create a gap of over 5 minutes at one point during the race.

"I knew that there would be a move that would go today and that Toyota would put on of their guys in the break. When Botero made his final attack in the climb, and Baldwin and other one joined him, that's when I had to do, if not I missed my chance. In the third lap, we set a hard tempo, and our gap even went to 5 minutes." said Parisien.

The breakaway companions cooperated well to establish a gap with Botero and Baldwin providing more of the fire power.

"Santiago was really contributing a lot to the breakaway and Baldwin was doing a lot as well. I didn't want to get to over zealous in helping out because we already had two riders in the top 10. The move wasn't ideal for us but it was great for us to have representation in it so, break doesn't succeed without cooperation." said Swindlehurst.

Meanwhile back in the field, HealthNet-Maxxis came to the front to organize the chase, but the gap kept growing.

"They worked very well together and they wanted to open a big gap, so they try, as soon as the break went, they work very well together in the break. Everyone worked 100% percent., so because of that, they got a big gap in the first lap." said Haedo.

A chase duo, Jackson Stewart (BMC) and a Jelly Belly rider, launched from the field in the third lap, but would dangle in no mans land for a few laps before being reabsorbed by the field in the fourth lap.

Other teams, Kelly Benefit/Medifast, Slipstream and Jittery Joes added manpower to the chase in the third lap but at that point it was too late to catch the break, but they did manage to reduce the gap.

On the last lap, the breakaway approached the final climb and just powered away from his companions before facing crosswinds in the final straightaway to the finish. Haedo, the fastest of the break, took second place.

"Nobody were really strong, they were trying to chase very badly, they did all they could. At the end, I was the fastest, I didn't feel good same as everybody else." said Haedo.


Santiago Botero wins the Points Jersey, the KOM jersey and the yellow leaders jersey

"I am so happy because this is my first race in seven months, the organization, the people, it's a friendly town here. I'm very happy." said Botero.

Tomorrow is the 90-minute Redlands criterium where Rock Racing will defend the jersey in anticipation of the fireworks in Sunday's Sunset loop.

"We talked about it with the riders just a few minutes ago, there's no better place to be in a criterium bur defending a leader's jersey and to be at the front. 180 guys, maybe even less, they're hungry, they want to get to the front, it's going to be pretty tough to ... from twentieth place up, everybody is going to try to be at the front because that's the easiest place to be in a criterium. With that being said, I'm pretty happy with the leader's jersey because that's exactly what we wanted to do just for tomorrow, to defend that, be at the front, I'm not saying it's going to be an easy ride but set a nice tempo, get through the day. Then hopefully on Sunset loop... I don't want to get too much ahead of the game, so that's the plan we have for tomorrow." said Mariano Friedick, Directeur Sportif for Rock Racing.

"I think we'll just kind of play by ear, every year the Sunset, especially the last 2 years, there have been some serious fireworks. I'm anticipating the same with Toyota still having some guys up on GC and there's so much strength spread out across all the teams too, I think that anybody can break to early attack, and I won't be surprised if we get another change on Sunday. " said Swindlehurst about the plan for Bissell.

Parisien is happy with his form and looking forwards to more racing. "Regardless, I'm happy because I got in the right move. I know that my form is good and that my training plan makes it that I'm getting stronger every week."

Swindlehurst is recovering, like many for an illness, and ramping up his form for upcoming races, such as Tour of the Gila. "I would say that the form is coming around, I was sick after California and was kind of dragging there a little bit so every day has been a little bit better for me so we'll see. "


Stage 1 Podium (l-r): Sebastian Haedo (Colavita/SutterHome), Santiago Botero (Rock Racing) and Burke Swindlehurst (Bissell)

Top 10 Stage Results
  1. Santiago Botero (Rock Racing) 3.18.15
  2. Sebastian Haedo (Colavita Sutter Home/Cooking Light) 0.52
  3. Burke Swindlehurst (Bissell Pro Cycling Team)
  4. François Parisien (Symmetrics)
  5. James Mattis (Cal Giant Farms/Specialized)
  6. Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United)
  7. Fred Rodriguez (Rock Racing) 1.46
  8. Alejandro Borrajo (Colavita Sutter Home/Cooking Light)
  9. Eric Wohlberg (Symmetrics)
  10. David Guttenplan (Time Pro)
Top 10 GC after stage 1
  1. Santiago Botero (Rock Racing) 3.18.41
  2. Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United) 0.54
  3. François Parisien (Symmetrics) 1.07
  4. Burke Swindlehurst (Bissell Pro Cycling Team) 1.08
  5. Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis) 1.30
  6. Ben Day (Toyota-United) 1.34
  7. Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United) 1.40
  8. James Mattis (Cal Giant Farms/Specialized)
  9. Oscar Sevilla (Rock Racing) 1.41
  10. Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling Team) 1.45
Top 3 KOM after stage 1
  1. Santiago Botero (Rock Racing) 14 pts
  2. Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis) 12
  3. Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United) 10
Top 3 Sprint classification after stage 1
  1. Santiago Botero (Rock Racing) 9 pts
  2. Sebastian Haedo (Colavita Sutter/Cooking Light) 8
  3. Burke Swindlehurst (Bissell Pro Cycling Team) 3
Full results here.