Redlands Bicycle Classic Stage 3: Ehrlich, Stites Win Lake Parris ITT

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Women’s Lake Perris Individual Time Trial Recap:

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, California (April 12, 2024) – Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twenty24 Emily Ehrlich rode to victory for a second year running in the time trial for the stage 3 Toyota of Redlands Lake Perris individual TT. She won with a blazing time of 24:21. Moving to a new course this season at Lake Perris, riders rode a technical, 11.7-mile course starting atop the lake dam, winding their way around the lake via portions on a bike path and taking a couple tight turns before powering up to the finish to complete the third stage at the 2024 Redlands Bicycle Classic.

Emily Ehrlich (Twenty24) wins the Lake Perris Individual Time Trial, Merlis Mejias (Twenty24) is second, with Alia Shafi (Fount Cycling) in third.
Photo: Above Four Media / Redlands Bicycle Classic

Ehrlich arrived to Redlands following her first ever Pan American Track Championships where she earned two gold medals in the individual pursuit and team pursuit respectfully. Her teammate Marlies Mejias was second with a time of 23:05, followed by Alia Shafi (Fount Cycling) in 23:11. Ehrlich had been feeling under the weather, trying to recover from the effort on the track, not sure if she would be able to race through Sunday.

“It’s been really tough coming from the track, I’ve been just taking it day but day. I’m feeling a little bit better today, even though yesterday really wiped me out,” Ehrlich said before her start. Speaking of the course ahead for the TT Ehrlich was excited for the change in venue and the new course.

“I’m really excited about the course; it’s very technical but going to be fun. I think there are a lot of opportunities to gain time where a lot of people might not think. We’ll see what happens.”

The defending overall champion was sitting far out of contention on the GC recovering from illness. She started within the first group of riders rolling down the start house. The heat had finally subsided on Friday, with a slight wind keeping the riders cool but thankfully did not play much of a factor for the finish.

Current U23 National Road Champion, Natalie Quinn had a solid day racing with the USA Cycling Redlands Development squad. She finished 12th on the day with a time of 25:59, enough to move her into third overall. Emma Langley struggled after a tough day in the mountains on stage 2, finishing the TT in 27:26, dropping down to 9th overall.

Alia Shafi moved up to 2nd overall on GC after a strong showing in the time trial on Friday. The Fount Cycling Guild rider won the Joe Martin time trial last season, surprising her rivals and even herself. The confidence built from last season is evident this season, making her climb up the GC riding consistent each day. Shafi was 5th on GC at the start of the day, down 1:26 from Gontova (DNA Pro Cycling). The yellow jersey managed to defend her lead, with a 50-second advantage ahead of Shafi.

“It was a little scary around those corners but I pushed it where I felt I could and was safe,” Shafi said. “It was awesome to end on the podium. The wind played a factor a little, but I took that into account in my strategy moving up slowly on GC. We’ll see where I am for tomorrow.”

The race returns to Downtown Redlands on Saturday for a full day of festivities beginning with the kid’s school duel races. The pro women will take to the start later in the afternoon at 2:15 PM local time.

Complete Pro Women’s Stage 3 Results

Nadia Gontova (DNA Pro Cycling) holds on to the yellow general classification leader’s jersey. Photo: Above Four Media

Men’s Lake Perris Individual Time Trial Recap: Project Echelon Goes 1-2 on Stage 3, Stites Extends Overall Lead

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, California (April 12, 2024) – Another change of the course was on the menu for the Lake Perris Individual Time Trial for stage 3. The past two years the Redlands Bicycle Classic has held the time trial on a traditional out-and-back course along Route 66. Race organizers decided to change it once again, moving it this time around to Riverside County for an 11.7-mile technical course beginning on the Lake Perris dam and winding around the lake before climbing up a short, punchy hill to the finish.

Tyler Stites (Project Echelon) wins Redlands individual time trial for the third year
Photo: VeloImages / Redlands Bicycle Classic

Project Echelon’s Tyler Stites won the stage for a third year in a row, dashing across the finish clocking a time of 22:20. His teammate Brendan Rhim was just behind in second finishing in 23:35.45, and Ribble Rebellion’s Joseph Laverick in 23:35.89. Denver Disrupter’s Stephen Bassett had started the day in second on GC after the queen stage, but struggled to find a rhythm, ending the stage in 23:54 over 1:34 down from Stites. The results dropped Bassett out of the top ten on GC.

“It was a really fun course today, lots of twists and turns which was completely different than last year’s straight out and back,” Stites said after finishing. “I didn’t know if I was going to perform the same. I had a lot of fun out there in the turns and giving it my all.”

The TT specialist has stepped up to the challenge each year, whether facing strong winds like last season, or a twisty, technical course set for this year. He ended the day gaining important time on GC, now holding a 41-second advantage over the new second place overall, Laverick of Ribble Rebellion.

“The time trial is something we focus a lot on; our sponsors give us great equipment so we’re able to excel in this discipline,” Stites added.

It was Project Echelon who dominated the stage, at one point leading the standings with fiver riders, with Rhim sitting in the hot seat for most of the day. Rhim has returned to Redlands after racing for several years overseas. His last participation was in 2018, while he made his debut 10 years ago in 2014.

“It was a tricky course, you had to really push on the slower sections, push on the headwind sections and float on the shallow/easier sections with the tail wind,” Rhim said of the course. “It was probably the least consistent effort I have done in a while in a TT. I definitely came close to the edge of the road a couple times, but everyone was dealing with the same course.”

The race moves to Downtown Redlands for the final two stages, beginning with the downtown crit tomorrow afternoon. The course offers a technical 9-turn, 1-mile circuit; set for 90 minutes of racing for the pro men.

It will be a day for the sprinters and crit squads, with five sprint lines on tap. Many of the GC favorites will hope to stay safe and get through the stage looking ahead to the Sunset Loop finale on Sunday.

“Anything can happen on Sunset,” Stites said. “We’ve got to show up with our best legs and give it all in defense.” Rhim agreed, flashing a big smile, “We’re going to have fun tomorrow and Sunday!”

The men take to the line at 4 PM PDT.

Complete Pro Men’s Stage 3 Results

 

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