Oak Glen, California - Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team’s Thomas Revard soloed to victory on the stage 2 City of Yucaipa Road Race at Redlands Bicycle Classic on Thursday. Revard’s result marks the 3rd victory in North America following Christopher Blevins’s win on stage 2 at San Dimas Stage Race and Michael Rice’s stage 4 win at the Tour of the Gila.
Sport Director Jeff Louder described a very active day, not only on the stage as a whole, but also by the Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team. A solo move in the latter half of the stage netted Ivo Oliveira seven points in the sprint competition. On his return to the main group, Belvins and three other riders formed a breakaway that worked well together for some time, but failed to gain more than a 1:30 advantage on the peloton.
Blevins’s breakaway was eventually brought back by the efforts of multiple teams, but particularly from the Silber Pro Cycling Team. With the lap portion of the stage completed and the peloton fully committed to the Oakglen climb, Revard found himself with a small gap to the main group. A quick glance over his shoulder confirmed a lack of cohesion by the peloton and that was all he needed.
The peloton tried, but had no answer to Revard’s flight to the top. Gavin Mannion (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) brought Revard’s 40” lead down to 20”, but Axeon teammates Sean Bennett and Will Barta were in Mannion’s chase group, ready to defend any move the Axeon alumnus might attempt himself. Mannion’s effort wasn’t enough, Revard held strong to the finish, and will don the yellow leader’s jersey at the start of Friday’s 3rd stage.
“Today was amazing,” said a thrilled Revard. “The team rode really well. Chris being in the break took the pressure off the rest of us. Up the final climb, I followed a move and then countered it. And before I knew it, I held it and won. In the end it was really special to have 3 of us in the top 5. Everyone worked really well together and put in a lot of hard work today. That makes the win mean that much more.”
Bennett and Barta finished the stage in 3rd and 5th respectively. With Wednesday’s first stage having been canceled due to weather, Oliveira leads the sprint competition. Revard sits atop the GC with a 33” lead over Lionel Mawditt (Project Echelon Racing), who finished second on Thursday’s 6-lap, 94.3 mile stage. Bennett rounds out the GC top 3.
"The guys rode a great race,” said Louder. “It was very good to have Blevins representing the team in what was a dangerous move and it allowed our riders to have a relaxed approach to the finale. Thomas obviously was the star of the day and deserved the win with a very impressive show of strength. The whole team showed their depth and maturity and now we have three guys inside the top ten with three days left to continue what was a great start to the race. We have our work cut out for us, but I am excited to see them defend Thomas's lead and gain invaluable experience in that challenge."
(Photo: Davey Wilson)