Congratulations on your super win today. You’ve had a fantastic start to the 2012 season with strong finishes in Europe and, now, first place on the first stage of what many consider the true kick-off to the US season.
It’s strange not to be there and tell you this in person since I haven’t missed Redlands in oh about a gazillion years, but I’m cheering for you just as loudly from home as I would be if I were besides you on the bike.
Toscana wasn’t an easy Tour to win, but you did. I’m confident you know what it takes. You have a strong team around you. Your teammates give you so many cards to play. If you race like a single unit, support one another, keep your teammates motivated and remain comfortable asking for help, the team will come through for you – and you will go home with the yellow jersey on your back.
Since I started racing Redlands before you took off your training wheels, I thought maybe I could share a few thoughts with you about the three stages that stand between you and yellow.
Beaumont, aka Blowmont (because it’s always windy), will be a stage where the other teams will try, try and try again to get a break up the road. It never happens. Tomorrow will likely come down to a field sprint. Because of this, I would normally tell you not to worry about the break, but with so many time bonuses up for grabs, any break is a real concern. A break will gobble up the time bonuses if you let them. Make sure the riders up the road are ones you’re willing to allow to walk away with seconds.
Beaumont is followed by the City of Redlands Criterium. This just might be one of the fastest and most technical crits you’ll race this year. This stage serves up plenty of corners, time bonuses and attacks. Be aware of who goes up the road – time bonuses given to the wrong person spell trouble. Be aware of your positioning – this stage often starts full gas. Be aware of the bump in the road in the second to last corner — just ask Kori Seehafer about that one. Actually, Megan, just be aware.
Sunset starts in the “neutral section”. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I would venture to guess the “neutral section” of Sunset sees more crashes than any other place in the race as everyone is fighting for the bumper of the comm car. I told you to be aware of your position in the crit – position is even more critical on Sunset. It’s a technical and fast lead in to the climb. Use your Euro bumping skills and sharp elbows to stay on the right wheel. Each lap will reduce the size of the front group until only a small, select group is left to arrive together at the finish. The stage winner will obviously come from this group. The overall winner will as well.
B R E A T H E