The Downtown Redlands Criterium, stage two of the Redlands Classic, is always a fast, technical race. Today was no exception. Although Team TIBCO did not factor into the stage finish, the team used the intermediate sprint to gain valuable seconds to move up in the individual overall.
Meredith Miller and Carmen Small helped Erinne Willock gain valuable time-bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint. Because of time gaps at the finish, Willock leap-frogged Evie Stevens (HTC-Highroad) to move into 2nd overall and Small moved into 4th.
“We wanted to save Erinne for tomorrow, so it was good that I was able to help get her in position for the intermediate sprint,” said Miller. “It was a hard race. Tomorrow is going to be even harder.”
The final stage of Redlands, the Sunset Loop, is always a brutal affair. TIBCO heads into the 68-mile, 9-lap circuit one rider down. Powers crashed in the final few laps of today’s race. A trip to the hospital confirmed that Powers had suffered a broken elbow.
“Ali’s a strong rider,” noted Miller. “It’s tough to lose her. It’s especially tough to lose her before the final stage.”
Directeur Sportif Lisa Hunt hates to lose a rider during a race but commends the team’s performance despite the late race crash. “The girls rode a great race today,” she said. “We moved Erinne and Carmen up a bit today. We’re going to do everything we can to move them up higher tomorrow.”
Miller will look to play an active role in the team’s plan. “I’m hoping to be there as long as possible for Erinne and Carmen,” said Miller. “I’ll do whatever I can.”