The 2017 Redlands Bicycle Classic was the site of an incredible performance by Junior World Time Trial Champion Brandon McNulty. In his first race back after fracturing his pelvis at the Volta ao Alentejo in February, the 19-year-old stormed to second place overall. McNulty’s teammate Emerson Oronte continued his stellar season with third overall, and Kirsti Lay put in consistent performances all week to finish sixth in the women’s event.
Brandon McNulty and Emerson Oronte on the final podium in Redlands
“It was a great week,” said McNulty. “I'm really happy to be back racing and even happier to be able to earn a podium spot at my first race back. The whole team rode great all week and did everything possible to keep Emerson and me safe, hydrated and in a good position.”
McNulty and Oronte laid the foundations for their podium steps in the opening time trial. In the initial 11.4-kilometer stage McNulty was just four seconds off the winning time. The second stage finish atop the famous Oak Glen climb proved another success as Oronte crossed the line second behind solo winner TJ Eisenhart of Holowesko | Citadel. McNulty would finish in third. McNulty and Oronte then successfully navigated the tricky circuit race and criterium stages to remain within striking distance of the overall lead heading into Sunday's Sunset Road Race. The final stage, a hilly circuit that twists through the neighborhoods overlooking downtown Redlands, tested Rally Cycling as conditions changed by the hour from clouds to rain, and then hail. Eisenhart would not relinquish his lead on the final day, but McNulty and Oronte remained steady to claim second and third overall.
Emerson Oronte finished second on the climb of Oak Glen
"The plan was to try to get Brandon or me in yellow," said Oronte after the final stage. “The whole team contributed, but we weren't able to break the Holowesko | Citadel squad. As a consolation for our efforts, Brandon and I were able to move up to second and third in general classification. The weather today played a huge factor with rain and hail in the last hour of the race. To say it was cold would be an understatement.”
Kirsti Lay will lead Rally Cycling at the Tour of California after finishing sixth in Redlands
In the women’s race, Kirsti Lay put together a string of consistent performances that saw her climb to sixth overall in the final general classification. After finishing tenth in the opening time trial, Lay moved up one position each day to set up a bid for victory in the final stage. Although the podium was elusive, Lay showed she is on form for the upcoming Tour of California.
An additional standout performance came from Katherine Maine, another Rally Cycling athlete who saw her season interrupted by injury with a fall at the 2016 North Star Grand Prix. Maine suffered a concussion at the peak of the racing season, which meant she would have a long wait until new goals surfaced for 2017. She began her comeback with consistent performances in support of her teammates at early season events like the Tucson Bicycle Classic and Tour of the Gila. At Redlands, Maine showed she is back to form, keeping Lay in position during critical moments and landing in the top ten in two stages. Maine finished a solid eighth in Saturday's criterium and made the select group with Lay on the Sunset Loop, eventually crossing the line in seventh.
The women of Rally Cycling will now travel north to South Lake Tahoe for the start of the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race on Thursday, May 11
Redlands Bicycle Classic Final General Classification | Men
1. TJ Eisenhart (Holowesko/Citadel Racing)
2. Brandon McNulty (Rally Cycling)
3. Emerson Oronte (Rally Cycling)
4. Gavin Mannion (UnitedHealthcare)
5. Francisco Mancebo (Canyon Bicycles)
6. Robin Carpenter (Holowesko/Citadel Racing)
7. Nigel Ellsay (Silber Pro Cycling)
8. Jhonnatan Narvaez (Axeon Hagens Berman)
9. Serghei Tvetkov (Jelly Belly)
10. Kyle Murphy (Cylance Cycling)
Redlands Bicycle Classic Final General Classification | Women
1. Ruth Winder (UnitedHealthcare)
2. Amber Neben (The Dare To Be Project)
3. Katharine Hall (UnitedHealthcare)
4. Jasmin Duehring (Sho-Air Twenty20)
5. Lex Albrecht (Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank)
6. Kirsti Lay (Rally Cycling)
7. Kate Buss (Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank)
8. Leah Thomas (Sho-Air Twenty20)
9. Lauren Stephens (Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank)
10. Lindsay Bayer (Hagens Berman / Supermint)