REDLANDS, California (May 7, 2017) — Canyon Bicycle Pro Cycling’s Francisco “Paco” Mancebo crossed the line seconds ahead of a chasing bunch that included Holowesko | Citadel’s TJ Eisenhart to win the final stage in downtown Redlands. Steve Fisher (Canyon) finished second, 14-seconds behind Mancebo, with Axeon Hagens Berman Jhonnatan Narvaez in third. Eisenhart held on to secure the over GC victory.
“It was every team attack, attack, attack,” Eisenhart said at the finish. “If they had teammates up there, they would still attack. It just makes it more special when you really, really deserved it and the team worked really hard for it. I’m extremely stoked by this.”
Many attempts at a breakaway began right from the start of the day, under looming clouds that soon dropped spurts of rain and hail as temperatures pummeled. About mid-way through the stage, a break of nine finally escaped. Mancebo, Alex Cataford (UHC), Kyle Murphy (Cylance), Kaler Marshall (Canyon), Tom Soladay (Rally), and Taylor Sheldon (Jelly Belly) were among them.
Not long before the final KOM, Mancebo and Sheldon attacked the break, gaining a gap. Sheldon held onto Mancebo’s wheel until the final 3 laps heading up Sunset when Mancebo picked up the pace and Sheldon was unable to follow.
“My goal was to get to the circuit solo, after working so hard all day,” Mancebo said. “I didn’t know how many laps I had to go before the final because my Garmin was dead. I didn’t know if I was at the finish or not. When it started raining, that was the moment to try and get the GC. It didn’t work, almost but we won the stage.”
Mancebo soon had a two-minute lead ahead of the main field with Eisenhart, which made him the virtual leader up until two laps to go when Holowesko picked up the chase. Holowesko set pace throughout the grueling day, delivering Eisenhart in the chasing bunch to seal his overall victory.
“We didn’t get any leeway from any team at all,” Eisenhart added. “Paco was aggressive all day, attacking, attacking, attacking. We finally let him go, thinking we’ll control it. We weren’t expecting him to attack the breakaway! That was very, very impressive, extremely hard but typical Paco. He made us work really hard.”
In the women’s race, Ruth Winder won the Sunset Loop Road Race Sunday after bridging across to a three-rider break in the latter portion of the 68-mile Redlands Classic finale, which looped around downtown area. The move launched the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling rider to overall victory after starting the day in third place, 1:43 down on Amber Neben (Dare To Be Project).
Neben dropped to second and Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) finished third overall. Claire Rose of Utah-based Visit Dallas DNA Cycling took home the sprinter.