2024 Redlands Bicycle Classic Set For A Shake Up

The 38th edition of the Redlands Bicycle Classic presented by San Manual Band of Mission Indians returns this week, starting on Wednesday, April 10 in Highland, with its finale on Sunday, April 14th in Downtown Redlands. The race has been a staple in the United States road racing circuit for decades. 2024 is no different with the launch of a 3-day junior stage race, a history making number of riders in the pro women’s field, along with a stacked men’s field set for a new addition on stage 2.

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

The five days of racing will commence with stage 1 in the City of Highland circuit race. The pro women take to the stage first, starting at 8:45 AM, ready for their 39.2 miles consisting of 14 laps around the 2.8-mile circuit. The men will race 58.1 miles, or a total of 20 laps around the circuit.

The circuit begins with a fast downhill after a quick turn soon after the start, before winding through some neighborhoods on the back end of the course. The riders will then round a park passing through the feed zone after which they will make the final turn to face the infamous Highland wall. The women will face it 14 times, while the men will have to battle up the climb 20 times before the road levels out ever so slightly, for what has historically ended with a sprint finish. Both winners from last season – Marlies Mejias (Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twenty24) and Noah Granigan (Denver Disrupters) – are back, hoping to done the first yellow jersey of the week for a second time.

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

Race organizers made the tough decision to move the climbing stage on day 2 from Oak Glen in Yucaipa, to San Bernardino, adding the Trek Onyx Summit Road Race. The Onyx summit sits at an elevation of 8,443 ft. (2,573m), and has never seen the finish of a pro bike race. It is the highest mountain pass in Southern California, and the second longest climb in the state at 29.9 miles in length. The stage is set for what will be an epic battle for the general classification. Riders will face close to 6,000 ft. of vertical gain, averaging 3.9% gradient with peaks at 8%.

The pure climbers in the bunch are itching to test their legs against the best, while the others will hope to simply survive to see stage 3. In the men’s race, riders to watch will include past podium finisher at Tour of the Gila, Toby Røed (Above & Beyond Cancer), Colombian Heiner Parra (Canel’s – Java), Stephen Bassett (Denver Disrupters) returning stateside after several seasons in Europe, along with his former teammate, Scott McGill (Project Echelon). Finally, former US National Road Champion Kyle Murphy, and Eder Frayre return with the newly formed Williams Racing, a composite team made up of several crit squads managed by the Williams brothers organization.

In the women’s field look out for last year’s stage two winner Nadia Gontova, racing now for DNA Pro Cycling. The squad will have former Mexican National Road Champion, Anet Barrera to back her. Emily Marcolini is back with team Boneshaker p/b Orange Seal (previously ROXO Racing); she will have third place finisher on Oak Glen last season, Colombian Lorena Villamizar racing alongside her. Triple threat Katie Clouse is swapping her mountain bike for road, joining the CMU Collegiate Team this week, while the U23 USA National Road Champion, Natalie Quinn will be racing with the USA Cycling Redlands Development squad.

After the shakeup on day 2, the individual time trial is up next. Recovery will have to be key for the GC contenders hoping to make up time lost on the previous day’s climb. The TT is moving from the Route 66 stage the past two years, to Lake Perris. The 11.7-mile loop around the lake will include a couple of tight turns that will add a couple of hiccups in setting tempo for the riders. The course is relatively flat with a few minor changes in elevation. The pro women will start first at 10:45 following the junior races, before the men take to the starting house at 12:30.

This is where Emily Ehrlich (Twenty24) took the yellow jersey with a dominant performance last season, keeping it to earn her first stage race title of her young career. Ehrlich will arrive to Redlands in top form following her first ever Pan American Track Championships in nearby Carson, CA. She won her first gold racing with the USA Cycling’s team pursuit team and at time of publishing this preview was getting ready to race for her second in the individual pursuit.

Tyler Stites returns to go for a third overall win for Project Echelon after taking home the yellow jersey the past two seasons and the TT win. The team is returning from Europe after a successful racing block overseas. Time will tell if he will be able to stay in contention after the Onyx Summit, or if Scott McGill will take the lead for the squad. Both will have a strong team backing them, including new addition Sam Boardman, previous yellow jersey, Ricky Arnopol, and Brendan Rhim.

For stage 4, the race moves back to downtown Redlands for crit day on Saturday. The day will be filled with events for the whole family beginning with the kids races in the morning. Amateur races will follow, before the juniors take to the stage, prepping for the big show featuring the pros in the afternoon. A vender expo will be set up near the finish line, with the VIP festivities across the street, along with other crowd favorite events in between.

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

The women will start at 2 PM racing for 75-minutes, followed by the men at 4 PM. L39ion of LA dominated the stage in 2023, taking the win in both the men and women’s races with Skylar Schneider and Cory Williams. A loss of sponsorships has changed season goals for the team but both riders are back with the newly minted Williams Racing Development Team for Redlands.


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

The final stage on the traditional Sunset Loop will take place following the return of the Redlands Mile running event in the morning. Bikes will take a rest while the runners will take to the crit course, running two races – a mile and a 5k – while a friendlier family fun walk will also be featured. The finale of the junior races will follow before the pros take to the road, beginning again with the women at 10 AM and then the pro men at 2 PM. Last year L39ion dominated once again, stealing the final stage wins with Skylar Schneider in her first participation at Redlands, and veteran pro, Robin Carpenter for the men.

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

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

In season’s past, the final day often resulted in a GC showdown with some winning margins ending within seconds. 2024 may prove otherwise with the Onyx climb in the mix. Either way, the punchy Sunset Loop will make for another great day of racing for both the men and women, before the final circuits in Downtown Redlands lined with racing fans on their way to crown the new overall champions of the Redlands Bicycle Classic!


2023 Highlight Photos

Stage 5
Robin Carpenter (L39ion of Los Angeles) steals second victory of the day for the team on Sunset Loop.
Photo: Brian Hodes / VeloImages
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