REDLANDS, California (VN) — Cole House scored a rookie win Sunday at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. House took the bunch sprint ahead of a decimated peloton at the close of the Sunset Road Race, while his Realcyclist.com teammate Francisco Mancebo squeaked out of town with the final leader’s jersey.
In a hectic final stage along the tough Sunset Ridge circuit, Bissell’s Ben Jacques-Maynes took second and Mancebo third in the early time bonus, just six miles into the race. With that effort, Jacques-Maynes moved into the virtual race lead.
Many riders, including Chris Baldwin (Juwi Solar-First Solar) called those opening miles the hardest of the day.
“It worked out well for us that way,” said Mancebo. “The plan was to win the sprint and get the bonus at the KOM, but in the end (Bissell) had to do the work and it worked out well for the team.”
Jacques-Maynes’ teammates controlled the bulk of the 94-mile stage under relentless pressure from GC rivals, including Baldwin, Andres Diaz (Team Exergy), and Mancebo’s teammate Cesar Grajales. Seventh overall Jeremy Vennell, Paul Mach and Patrick Bevin all lost contact after working hard in the seventh Sunset lap to pull back a dangerous escape that included V Australia’s Darren Rolfe (:39 back) and Exergy’s Matt Cooke (:19 back).
“My boys rode like men today,” said Jacques-Maynes. “Andy (Jacques-Maynes, Ben’s twin brother) pretty much single-handedly put the race back together on the last lap.”
On that last lap, Baldwin and Mancebo both had cracks after stage 1 breakthrough winner John Bennett (Cal Giant-Specialized) and George Bennett (Trek-Livestrong) were caught after a two-lap flyer. Jacques-Maynes found himself isolated and when the leaders reached the finish circuit for the first of five laps — and second time bonus sprint — Mancebo jumped into the final three corners. The Spaniard took top time at the line, wrestling back control of general classification.
“I had to respond a lot to dangerous attacks and that just zapped me for the last sprint,” said Jacques-Maynes. “I just didn’t have it. That’s bike racing.”
Mancebo said he knew he had to be first in the third-to-last, 120-degree corner.
“I learned a lot yesterday in the crit,” he said. “I saw that Jacques-Maynes was really tired. I knew from yesterday that if you took the last three corners first, it was really hard to pass. Since I was fresh, I did that. I jumped first for the last three corners and no one was able to pass me.”
Four laps later, House knew the same to be true. He surged into the sharp turn and took to the front ahead of the final corner, V Australia’s Aussie criterium champion Jonathan Cantwell in his wheel.
“Coming out of the last corner I saw Cantwell on my wheel and I didn’t know if I could hold him off, but I gave it everything I had. I held him off and it’s great for the team,” said House. “We’re the new team on the block. We definitely wanted to come out and prove that we’re a good team.”
- 1. Cole House, Realcyclist.com, 3:40:54
- 2. Jonathan Cantwell, Fly V Australia, same time
- 3. Luca Damiani, Kenda-5hr Energy, s.t.
- 4. Raymond Kreder, Chipotle Development, s.t.
- 5. Joeseph Lewis, Trek-Livestrong, s.t.