Stites Sprints To Victory, Taking Early GC Lead

Tyler Stites (Project Echelon) takes the victory on stage 1 Highland Circuit
Photo: VeloImages / Redlands Bicycle Classic


Highland, California (April 10, 2024) – Project Echelon’s Tyler Stites outsprinted his rivals, taking the stage 1 victory on the Highland Circuit for the opening stage at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. The two-time overall defending champion took the early lead on GC to gain an advantage ahead of the Onyx Summit on Thursday. His team worked hard throughout the stage, with Sam Boardman and Scott McGill chasing down any dangerous escapees.  Tom Williams finished just behind Stites in second for the British squad, Thriva SCRT, with Stephen Bassett in third racing with Denver Disrupters this season.

“It was good; I always love this course,” Stites said after finishing. “I’ve been up there a couple times on the stage but never been able to win. It’s pretty tricky timing on the hill, but I think I finally timed it right this year.”

The men took to the start at 11 AM following the awards ceremony for the pro women. With a lot of nerves looking towards stage 2, the race saw few attempts at breakaways. The temperature was also a factor with the heat increasing in the afternoon, making for a tough first day of racing. Several riders attempted to escape, but were soon caught after a lap or two.


Photo: VeloImages / Redlands Bicycle Classic


Team Expeditor’s Kaler Marshall attacked shortly before the third KOM of the day. A group of four launched the chase, including Pablo Alarcon (Canel’s-Java), Tanner Ward (Williams Racing), Brooks Wienke (Aevolo), and Sam Boardman (Project Echelon). The field absorbed them all with three laps to go.

Speaking to various riders at the finish, most were relieved to have the first stage completed. The Redlands Bicycle Classic is typically the first big race of the season where the teams get to see how they measure up against their competition. However, they have never faced such an epic day of climbing so early in the season like the Onyx Summit on Thursday.

“Historically this race has always been really close,” Stites said. “I don’t know if those 10 seconds are going to do much this year with the huge mountain we have to climb tomorrow. I think there will be bigger gaps.”

Bassett agreed. The Denver Disrupters are racing their first stage race as a team with several new riders on the roster, including Bassett.

“We’ve never raced together before, but we had great work from the boys,” Bassett said looking ahead to Thursday. “Tomorrow will be interesting having this one time hit of altitude, going up to 8300 ft. I think. It’s super long with a couple little dips in there. It’s good for me to take a couple breathers. We’ll see how that plays out, I’m looking forward to it.”

Brody McDonald was the top finisher in the Best Amateur competition, earning the first white jersey of the week for Aevolo Cycling. The pro men will start their 50-mile trek up to the summit for stage 2 at 10 AM.


First – Tyler Stites (Project Echelon Racing)
Second – Tom Williams (Triva SRCT)
Third – Stephen Bassett (Denver Disrupters)
Photo: Above Four Media


Tyler Stites (Project Echelon) takes the lead in both the GC and KOM classification. Brody McDonald (Aevolo Cycling) leads the Best Amateur competition.
Photo: Above Four Media