Project Echelon Goes 1-2 on Stage 3, Stites Extends Overall Lead

Tyler Stites (Project Echelon) wins Redlands individual time trial for the third year
Photo: VeloImages / Redlands Bicycle Classic

Riverside County, California (April 12, 2024) – Another change of the course was on the menu for the Lake Perris Individual Time Trial for stage 3. The past two years the Redlands Bicycle Classic has held the time trial on a traditional out-and-back course along Route 66. Race organizers decided to change it once again, moving it this time around to Riverside County for an 11.7-mile technical course beginning on the Lake Perris dam and winding around the lake before climbing up a short, punchy hill to the finish.

Project Echelon’s Tyler Stites won the stage for a third year in a row, dashing across the finish clocking a time of 22:20. His teammate Brendan Rhim was just behind in second finishing in 23:35.45, and Ribble Rebellion’s Joseph Laverick in 23:35.89. Denver Disrupter’s Stephen Bassett had started the day in second on GC after the queen stage, but struggled to find a rhythm, ending the stage in 23:54 over 1:34 down from Stites. The results dropped Bassett out of the top ten on GC.

“It was a really fun course today, lots of twists and turns which was completely different than last year’s straight out and back,” Stites said after finishing. “I didn’t know if I was going to perform the same. I had a lot of fun out there in the turns and giving it my all.”

The TT specialist has stepped up to the challenge each year, whether facing strong winds like last season, or a twisty, technical course set for this year. He ended the day gaining important time on GC, now holding a 41-second advantage over the new second place overall, Laverick of Ribble Rebellion.

“The time trial is something we focus a lot on; our sponsors give us great equipment so we’re able to excel in this discipline,” Stites added.

It was Project Echelon who dominated the stage, at one point leading the standings with fiver riders, with Rhim sitting in the hot seat for most of the day. Rhim has returned to Redlands after racing for several years overseas. His last participation was in 2018, while he made his debut 10 years ago in 2014.

“It was a tricky course, you had to really push on the slower sections, push on the headwind sections and float on the shallow/easier sections with the tail wind,” Rhim said of the course. “It was probably the least consistent effort I have done in a while in a TT. I definitely came close to the edge of the road a couple times, but everyone was dealing with the same course.”

The race moves to Downtown Redlands for the final two stages, beginning with the downtown crit tomorrow afternoon. The course offers a technical 9-turn, 1-mile circuit; set for 90 minutes of racing for the pro men.

It will be a day for the sprinters and crit squads, with five sprint lines on tap. Many of the GC favorites will hope to stay safe and get through the stage looking ahead to the Sunset Loop finale on Sunday.

“Anything can happen on Sunset,” Stites said. “We’ve got to show up with our best legs and give it all in defense.” Rhim agreed, flashing a big smile, “We’re going to have fun tomorrow and Sunday!”

The men take to the line at 4 PM PDT.

First – Tyler Stites (Project Echelon Racing)
Second – Brendan Rhim (Project Echelon Racing)
Third – Joseph Laverick (Ribble Rebellion)
Photo: © Above Four Media


Tyler Stites (Project Echelon) in yellow, Stephen Schaefer of Landis/Trek Cyclery in the red KOM jersey. Quinn Felton (Aevolo Cycling) leads the Best Amateur competitions and Ryan Gorman in the green sprint leader’s jersey.
Photo: Above Four Media