Redlands Stage 5: Carpenter Steals Second L39ion Victory on Sunset Loop, Stites Successfully Defends Redlands Title

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REDLANDS, California (April 16, 2023) — Robin Carpenter sprinted to the line to steal a second victory of the final stage for L39ion of Los Angeles after their women’s team won earlier in the day. Carpenter had been in a solo move after losing his only breakaway companion from CS Velo in the final Sunset loop. Fighting for every second once he made it to the downtown circuit, the effort secured third over all for him in the general classification. Gavin Hlady was second for Team Mike’s Bike’s of California, followed by Riley Sheehan of the Denver Disrupters.

Robin Carpenter (L39ion of Los Angeles) steals second victory of the day for the team on Sunset LoopPhoto: Brian Hodes / VeloImages
Robin Carpenter (L39ion of Los Angeles) steals second victory of the day for the team on Sunset Loop. Photo: Brian Hodes / VeloImages

“I can’t believe I stayed away honestly, it was so close for so long,” Carpenter said. “I was just dying out there. It was hard and so close, 10 seconds on the last lap, everyone was blown. You needed to have teammates and I didn’t have any. I was just able to hold on.”

Carpenter had begun the final stage 40-seconds down on GC in fourth position. Meanwhile, Stites was sitting in the lead with his teammate Ricky Arnopol in second at a 9-second deficit ahead of AJ August 12 seconds down in third. A six-man break was established three laps into the stage, including Eder Frayre and Sam Boardman for L39ion, Ulises Castillo and Sergio Henao for the Denver Disrupters, Tobie Klein for Aevolo Cycling, and Joel Plamondon of Toronto Hustle.

The group managed to secure over a minute gap for most of the stage, until two laps to go on Sunset when Project Echelon initiated the chase. The group was caught with two circuits to go, before the final KOM line when Henao was within two points of stealing the KOM classification for Denver. It was at that moment that Carpenter attacked, taking Drake Deuel of CS Velo Racing with him.

The gap increased to a minute, making Carpenter the virtual yellow on the road before Stites jumped to close down the gap. Carpenter had several teammates in the chase group, including Frayre and the US National Road Champion, Kyle Murphy. Murphy had attacked previously, going solo for a lap before he was absorbed by the field.

Once Carpenter and Deuel escaped, they worked together to help increase the gap heading to the final loop on Sunset before Deuel suddenly crashed leaving Carpenter alone to fight for the GC. The chase caught him just after passing the final KOM line, when Carpenter escaped again, hovering ever so slightly in front of the field. He maintained a 5-second gap in the downtown circuits, snatching the top intermediate bonus seconds, and earning another 10-seconds at the finish with his win.

“I would have loved to take the GC, but once I caught at the top of the climb I thought I would figure out how to win the stage,” Carpenter said. “I know I have a fast bike and a fast position – just ride down the hill as fast as possible. It was touch and go for a long time, but I managed to keep the gap on the last lap. Tyler rode amazing today.

“We had a plan to put the pressure on, which we did. Stites was amazing; he rode Kyle (Murphy) back with two laps to go by himself. Kudos to him, a deserving winner.”

Stites crossed the finish relieved the battle was over knowing he had successfully defended his title for a second consecutive year with Project Echelon. He was also the victor of the KOM classification after the leader, Evan Boyle of Aevolo, had abandoned due to illness in the first hour of racing.

“That was probably the hardest bike ride I have ever done,” Stites said, exhausted at the finish. “I had to dig deep and cover everything. Robin was solo for so long, luckily I got some help from some other people. I was nervous but I just knew I had to pedal as hard as I could, it worked out.

“It was down to me and Ricky (Arnopol), not sure when he dropped off. Everyone on the team gave everything they had. I can’t believe it, it still hasn’t sunk in.”

The 17-year-old AJ August was alongside Stites in the final to secure a second overall finish on GC and the U22 best young rider classification, his first in his young career. The top three on GC all finished within 30 seconds of one another. Stites winning by another close margin of 14-seconds, after stealing yellow by 21 seconds in 2022.

L29ion of Los Angeles won the team classification. Alex Murison of the Canadian development squad, Red Truck Racing won the green sprint points classification to complete another successful year of the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

MEN’S OVERALL GC

PLACELAST NAMEFIRST NAMEBIB #TEAM NAMETIMETIME BEHINDCOUNTRY
1StitesTyler1Project Echelon Racing11:04:500:00:00USA
2*AugustAj251Hot Tubes Development Cycling11:05:040:00:14USA
3CarpenterRobin12L39ION of Los Angeles11:05:150:00:25USA
4SheehanRiley87Denver Disrupters11:05:560:01:06USA
5FrayreEder14L39ION of Los Angeles11:06:000:01:10MEX
6ClassenCaleb153Team California11:06:070:01:17USA
7WhiteAlexander57Aevolo Cycling11:06:260:01:36NZL
8HoehnAlex45Above & Beyond Cancer Cycling Team P/B Bike World11:06:390:01:49USA
9ArnopolRichard2Project Echelon Racing11:06:510:02:01USA
10RøedTorbjørn André46Above & Beyond Cancer Cycling Team P/B Bike World11:07:390:02:49USA
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