Editor’s Note: This is the first of a regular weekly column by Brian Holcombe on the week ahead in U.S. racing. Andrew Hood is taking a break from his regular European Racing This Week column, but will return next week.
While U.S. pros have shown up in big numbers to regional races over the last two weeks, the U.S. domestic season gets underway in earnest this week as the San Dimas Stage Race runs Friday – Sunday in San Dimas, California. The three-stage race is the final tuneup ahead of the NRC opener in Redlands, California, a week later.
Coming into the weekend red-hot are Fly V Australia, who scored four wins last weekend; UnitedHealthcare-Maxxis, with stage and overall wins at the Tour de Murrieta; and the Bahati Foundation, who swept the Merced criterium and went second in the road race two weeks ago.
11th San Dimas Stage Race (CA)
Ben Day (Fly V Australia) and Hilton Clarke (Bahati Foundation) are the only returning champions in the men’s field. Each appears to be on fine early-season form and should compete to take their second San Dimas crown.
On the women’s side, the 2007-2009 winners — Meredith Miller (Team Tibco), Kim Anderson (HTC-Columbia) and Ina Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) — return to battle for the early season podium.
San Dimas kicks off with Friday’s 3.8-mile individual time trial up Glendora Mountain Road. The brief individual effort follows the bottom-half of the GMR climb, ascending 1,375 vertical feet over an average gradient of 4.5 – 5.5 percent. Day won the opener in 2009 and will be hard to beat Friday.
Stage 2, the San Dimas Hospital Road Race, follows a seven-mile circuit over a series of short, punchy climbs around Bonelli Park. The steepest of the climbs, Cannon Avenue, reaches a maximum gradient of 13 percent and is the day’s lone KOM point. The men’s race will cover 84 miles while the women tackle 56 miles.
None of the climbs is stiff enough to dislodge the fast finishers in the peloton and the run-in to the line should set up a battle between finishers like Alejandro Borrajo (Jamis-Sutter Home) and Andrew Pinfold (UnitedHealthcare) on the men’s side and Teutenberg and Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12) for the women.
The race closes on Sunday with a criterium in Old Town San Dimas. The six-corner, 1.2-mile course will deliver high speeds and what should be a compact general classification will bring on extremely active racing. The men will race for 90 minutes, while the women will hit out for 55.
Intermediate and finish time bonuses could very well decide the overall standings and the teams atop the classifications will work hard to control any activity that threatens their GC riders. Last year’s stage winners Teutenberg and Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) will both take the start as favorites.
Stage 1 ITT, Friday, March 19: Glendora Chevrolet Time Trial, 3.8 mi
Stage 2 RR, Saturday, March 20: San Dimas Hospital Road Race, 84/56 mi
Stage 3 Crit, Sunday, March 21: INCYCLE/Cannondale Old Town Grand Prix,