A Look Back At The 37th Edition – Ehrlich Celebrates Victory, Stites Defends Title for a Second Year

The 2023 Redlands Bicycle Classic once again brought excitement, highlighting gripping young talent and an incredible week of racing in Southern California. Emily Ehrlich rode away with the overall win for Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twenty24 in a women’s field that boasted one of the largest women’s peloton in over a decade with close to 130 riders. In the men’s race, Tyler Stites defended his title for Project Echelon for the second year, winning by a mere 14-second margin ahead of 17-year old talent Andrew “AJ” August, racing for the junior development program, Hot Tubes.

The five days of racing began with the Highland Circuit for stage 1. The circuit is fast with windy turns on the backside, before a long, steady climb after the final turn heading up to the line. The road levels out just slightly in the final meters providing fans with a thrilling sprint to the line. Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twenty24 Marlies Mejias sprinted to victory for the pro women, in her first participation at Redlands with a special fan – her three-year-old daughter – waiting to celebrate with her at the podium. Fount Cycling’s Alia Shafi finished second ahead of her teammate, Kathleen Abadie, after animating the race. Marcela Prieto was third for PatoBike.

Marlies Mejias (Virgina Blue Ridge Twenty24) storms to victory in Highland.
Photo: Brian Hodes / VeloImages

First – Marlies Mejias (Virginia Blue Ridge Twenty24).
Second – Alia Shafi (Fount Cycling Guild)
Third – Marcela Prieto (PatoBike)
Photo: Above Four Media

Denver Disrupter’s Noah Granigan would post at the line for the pro men, outsprinting Robin Carpenter who was racing his first competition since joining L39ion of Los Angeles for 2023. Redlands was the first race for L39ion racing together in the New Year. Richard Arnopol rounded the podium in third for Project Echelon.

2023 Redlands Bicycle Classic Men's Stage 1 Winner

Noah Granigan (Denver Disruptors) out-sprints Robin Carpenter (L39ion of Los Angeles) for victory in Highland.
Photo: Brian Hodes / VeloImages

First – Noah Granigan (Denver Disrupters)
Second – Robin Carpenter (L39ion of Los Angeles)
Third – Ricky Arnopol (Project Echelon)
Photo: Above Four Media

After a sunny start in Highland, the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped just in time for Oak Glen for stage 2. The stage in Yucaipa had the rider’s race several circuits before taking the left-hand turn up to Oak Glen. The Oak Glen climb is often a focus for many riders hoping for victory to add their names to the historic stage.

First to emerge out of the fog at the finish line was Red Truck Racing’s Nadia Gontova. She was in disbelief at the finish taking the win in her Redlands debut. Patobike’s Marcela Prieto finished second ahead of her Colombian teammate, Lorena Villamizar in third.

Redlands Bicycle Classic Women's Stage 2

Nadia Gontova (Red Truck Racing) takes victory atop Oak Glen.
Photo: Brian Hodes / VeloImages

First – Nadia Gontova (Red Truck Racing)
Second – Marcela Prieto (Patobike)
Third – Lorena Villamizar (Patobike)

Photo: Above Four Media

Not to be outdone, AJ August stole away with the win, one of the youngest victors to win Oak Glen in history. The New York native and cyclocross junior star was at home in the cold temperatures, taking his chance to escape the field midway up the climb. Conditions had deteriorated with heavy fog greatly reducing visibility, which played to his advantage. A six-man chase group including Stites (Project Echelon) and Riley Sheehan (Denver Disruptors), tried to close the gap to no avail. Stites would finish second, with Sheehan in third.

Stage 2 Men

AJ August (Hot Tubes Development Cycling) takes surprising win at Oak Glen.
Photo: Brian Hodes / VeloImages

First – Andrew “AJ” August (Hot Tubes)
Second – Tyler Stites (Project Echelon)
Third – Riley Sheehan (Denver Disrupters)

Photo: Above Four Media

The race against the clock was up next, taking the riders along Route 66. The sun had returned, bringing gusty winds to make for a challenging day. Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twenty24 gladly accepted the challenge, sweeping the podium by day’s end. Erhlich stormed to victory with a winning time of 20:10, ahead of teammates Melisa Rollins (20:25) and Laurel Quiñones (20:39). The performance would preview what would be a recurring theme for the season, thanks to their famed coach, three-time Olympic TT Champion Kristin Armstrong, proudly cheering from afar.

Redlands Bicycle Classic Women's Stage 3

Emily Ehrlich on her way to victory on stage 3 at the 2023 Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Photo: Brian Hodes / VeloImages


(L-R) Melisa Rollins, Emily Ehrlich, Laurel Quiñones for Virginia Blue Twenty24
Photo: Above Four Media

In the men’s race, Tyler Stites rode to victory for the second time, with his sights on the overall GC win. The Project Echelon rider rode only four seconds slower on the same course than in 2022 with a time of 17:43. Time trial specialist, Matteo Dal-Cin (Toronto Hustle) finished in 17:51 for second, with Toby Røed (Above & Beyond Cancer) in third with a time of 17:59 and the last rider to finish in under 18 minutes.

Redlands Bicycle Classic - Men's Stage 3

Project Echelon Tyler Stites wins the Redlands TT for a second time
Photo: Brian Hodes / VeloImages


(L-R) Matteo Dal-Cin (Toronto Hustle), Tyler Stites (Project Echelon),
Toby Røed (Above & Beyond Cancer)
Photo: Above Four Media

Saturday moved the race to Downtown Redlands and the famed criterium day filled with festivities including amateur and kids races, a VIP luncheon, the expo, and other entertainment including a BMX tricks show. The full day of events began early in the morning with the amateur races until nearing sunset with the men’s pro category, to end a fun-filled day of live racing for the entire family.

Photo: Jeni Weigel

In the pro races, all eyes were focused on L39ion of Los Angeles who had dominated the crit circuit in the USA since the team’s inception a few years prior. Racing so close to home, it was their day to shine. In the women’s race, Skylar Schneider took the reins earning her first victory in her debut at Redlands. The 2023 Pan American Road Champion had escaped from the pack, with Twenty24’s Emily Ehrlich in tow, making it to the line for a head-to-head sprint. As Schneider posted on the line, Ehrlich took over the yellow jersey and the overall lead finishing second, with Schneider’s sister Sam, in third.

Redlands Bicycle Classic Women's Stage 4

Skylar Schneider scores her first victory of 2023 for L39ion of Los Angeles,
winning the Downtown Crit at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Photo: Brian Hodes / VeloImages


(L-R) Emily Ehrlich (Twenty24), Skylar and Sam Schneider
(L39ion of Los Angeles)
Photo: Above Four Media

In the men’s race, it was the first showdown of the season between the two squads L39ion of Los Angeles and the newly formed Denver Disrupters. Denver had already scored a win in Highland on stage one with Granigan, but was looking to once again out sprint their rivals from Los Angeles in the crit.

It was a hard-fought 90-minute battle between the two rivals. Both managed to dodge the myriad of crashes that disrupted the tempo and organization of the teams. In the end, it was Cory Williams who beat Granigan on the line for the victory. Tyler Stites (Project Echelon) finished safely in the bunch behind them, maintaining his lead and the yellow jersey going into the final day. It was a tight race for yellow with Stites holding a slim margin of nine seconds ahead of his teammate, Ricky Arnopol, and 12 seconds ahead of AJ August (Hot Tubes), who was leading the Best Young Rider and Best Amateur jersey of the race.


Cory Williams wins stage 4 of the Redlands Bicycle Classic
for L39ion of Los Angeles
Photo: Brian Hodes / VeloImages


(L-R) Noah Granigan (Denver Disrupters),
Cory Williams (L39ion of Los Angeles),
Cade Bickmore (Project Echelon)
Photo: Above Four Media

As the sun shone on the final day of racing, the pro women took to the start following the amateur races. L39ion of Los Angeles established a solid advantage early on, splitting the field with a select group including GC leader Ehrlich (Twenty24). The Twenty24 rider was able to respond to the attempted threats by her rivals, including Marcela Prieto (PatoBike) that had made the move and was sitting in second overall. The breakaway managed to keep their advantage, entering the downtown circuits.

L39ion was not a threat to the overall GC, allowing them the freedom to go for the stage victory. It would be Skylar Schneider who crossed the line celebrating her second win in as many days. She outsprinted Ehrlich’s teammate, Marlies Mejias, who finished second and Skylar’s sister and teammate, Sam Schneider in third. Ehrlich crossed the line soon after, securing her first GC title at Redlands.

Skylar Schneider (L39ion of Los Angeles) scores second stage win
in her debut at the Redlands Bicycle Classic
Photo: Brian Hodes / VeloImages


First -Skylar Schneider (L39ion of Los Angeles)
Second – Marlies Mejias (Virginia Blue Ridge Twenty24)
Third – Samantha Schneider (L39ion of Los Angeles)
Photo: Above Four Media

The sprint points classification was tight, with only 3-points separating Holly Breck of DNA Pro Cycling and Rylee McMullen of Instafund Racing. Despite losing contact from the front group seeing her green jersey slipping away, the DNA rider was able to dig deep to cross the line with only a slim margin to retain the classification. Alia Shafi (Fount Cycling) secured the Best Amateur Classification, while her teammate Kathleen Abadie (Fount Cycling) won the Queen of the Mountain jersey. Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twenty24 won the team classification.


Holly Breck (DNA Pro Cycling), Emily Ehrlich (Twenty24), Kathleen Abadie (Fount) with her teammate Alia Shafi (Fount)
Photo: Above Four Media


Virginia Blue Ridge Twenty24 secured the overall team classification along with the overall GC at 2023 Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Photo: Above Four Media

In the men’s race, it was L39ion once again that took up the charge, answering the challenge after watching their women’s team take victory. This time it was Robin Carpenter who had made the jump early on, with only one other rider able to follow, from CS Velo. Carpenter had been 40-seconds down on GC sitting in fourth position.

The GC favorites picked up their pace in defense of their standings, creating a 6-man break three laps into the stage. The chase group included Eder Frayre and Sam Boardman for L39ion of LA, Ulises Castillo and Sergio Henao of Denver Disrupters, Tobie Klein for Aevolo Cycling, and Joel Plamondon of Toronto Hustle.

The two escapees managed to secure over a minute gap for most of the stage until two laps to go prior to entering the final downtown circuits, Project Echelon jumped. They were caught with two circuits to go before the final KOM line when Colombian star, Henao was within two points of stealing the KOM classification. Carpenter looked at his rivals and decided that was the moment to attack, taking Drake Deuel of CS Velo with him.

The gap once again increased to a minute, making Carpenter the virtual yellow jersey on the road, but Stites was not ready to give up. Both Carpenter and Deuel were working together well until Deuel unfortunately crashed on the final Sunset Loop, leaving Carpenter alone in fending off his rivals. Digging deep, Carpenter managed to maintain a slim, 5-second margin snatching the final intermediate sprint, and taking the victory along with the bonus 10-seconds on the line.

It was not enough in the end to steal yellow, as Stites crossed the line shortly after completely spent, relieved the battle was over and he had successfully defended his title for a second overall victory at Redlands. The 17-year-old August was alongside Stites in the finale, securing second on GC and the Best Amateur jersey.

In the end, Tyler Stites would earn the King of the Mountain jersey, to add to his collection of yellow jerseys for Project Echelon. Alex Murison won the points classification for Red Truck Racing, while L39ion of Los Angles would take home the overall team classification.

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


First – Robin Carpenter (L39ion of Los Angeles)
Second – Gavin Hlady (Team Mike’s Bike’s)
Third – Riley Sheehan (Denver Disrupters)
Photo: Above Four Media


(L-R) Alex Murison (Red Truck Racing), Tyler Stites (Project Echelon), AJ August (Hot Tubes Cycling)
Photo: Above Four Media


L39ion of Los Angeles wins the overall team classification at the 2023 Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Photo: Above Four Media

The 2023 wrapped once again thanks to the hard work and dedication by its many race volunteers, staff, and officials. As its slogan states, fans witnessed more legends being born in Southern California.

AJ August’s performance in Redlands would secure him a place in Europe on the WorldTour for 2024. After finishing third on the final stage, Riley Sheehan would continue his successful season by going on to win the 2023 Joe Martin Stage Race later in the summer. He too was granted his own spot on the WorldTour, with Israel Premier Tech racing in Europe in the fall and securing a contract starting in 2024.

Gontova’s win atop Oak Glen would prove to be a season changing performance for the Canadian. She would go on to race with ROXO Racing, later winning a stage at the Vuelta Colombia Femenina in July.

Join us once again starting April 10, 2024 as professional cycling returns for the 38th edition of the Redlands Bicycle Classic presented by San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.