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Why you should follow the San Dimas Stage Race, Preview

March 16, 2012

SDSR Stage 2 Women's Peloton in Bonelli Park (photo by Annette McCusker)

Follow the San Dimas Stage race for a few reasons:

  • The competition to win the opening stage uphill time trial on Friday, March 16 will be fierce,
  • the field includes many strong riders and attention-seekers who should animate the roads,
  • live-video coverage will be available according to race organizers, and
  • if Sam Johnson of Team Exergy blogs about the race, you’ll know enough about the event to share its intimate details with him.

For some teams, like Competitive Cyclist Racing Team, the San Dimas Stage Race is the first race of the season. As such it’s a serious place to test out the legs against a competitive field even though it doesn’t provide points on the National Racing Calendar series.

2012 is the 13th edition of this race, which SC Velo hosts. Here’s a great summary of the race’s history from the Team Winded website:

“Twelve years ago a few local riders had a crazy idea: Let’s put on a stage race in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley. Originally called the Pomona Valley Stage Race, the race drew mostly local racers. Each successive year the race’s reputation grew, as it became the premier local stage race. Soon after its inauguration racers from across the country made their way to compete in the San Dimas Stage Race. The list of winners demonstrates the caliber of national talent drawn by the San Dimas Stage Race. Past winners include: Tom Danielson, Chris Horner, Amber Neban, Scott Moninger, Christine Thorburn, Ina Yoko Teutenberg and Ben Day.”

True to form, the 2012 San Dimas Stage Race provisional roster includes top professionals in the men’s and women’s fields, including former winners Heath Blackgrove who is riding with Elbowz Racing, Team Specialized Lululemon’s Ina Yoko Teutenberg, and Kristin Armstrong of Exergy Twenty 12.

Stages

All categories follow the same course for all stages, though the pro-women’s stages 2 and 3 are shorter in length and time respectively.

Stage 1: Chaffey Auto Body Time Trial. Organizers dub this winding 3.8 mile hill climb along Glendora Mountain Road a “mini Alpe d’Huez.” Total elevation gain is 1,375 feet.

Stage 2: San Dimas Community Hospital Road Race. Riders will circle a 7 mile loop with a flat 1 km leading up to the finish line. What makes this stage challenging is the KOM; at the top of Cannon Ave., it rises approximately 200 feet over 0.6 miles with one section at 13%. That should tire the legs of some riders over twelve laps for the pro-men and eight for the pro-women as they speed through and around Bonelli Park.

2012 San Dimas Stage Race stage 2 profile (from SDSR "Bible")

Forty-eight pro-men and thirty-three pro-women did not make the time cut or DNF’d on last year’s stage 2. The women’s field yielded a solo victory and a group of nine fought out a sprint finish for the men. Time bonuses of 10, 6, and 4 seconds for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places could make this a significant stage if the uphill time trial results are within seconds for the top contenders. The sprint time bonuses are 3, 2, and 1 second(s) for 1st through 3rd places.

Stage 3: INCYCLE / CANNONDALE San Dimas Classic. The “L” shape of the course gives the last stage the nickname “six corners of speed.” It passes through downtown San Dimas. A slight climb with an elevation gain of 40 feet shouldn’t disperse the field significantly, with a mass freight-train sprint expected. The pro-men will race the 1.2 mile circuit for 90 minutes and the pro-women for 55 minutes.

Favorites for stage 1

UnitedHealthcare Pro cycling team isn’t taking part in the race this year, so Ben Day won’t be present to defend his three-year winning streak. Matt Cooke of Team Exergy finished second last year in stage 1 and in the overall GC. Matt recently won the team’s uphill driveway time trial, a short steep climb the team celebrates annually at training camp by competing against each other. Matt’s ready, and the team is ready to support him to win.

Sebastian Salas rode on Team Exergy last year, and in 2012 he races with Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies. Check out his blog. Salas writes about climbing in Colombia and photos of mountain roads populate his homepage. He could podium, if not win.

Cesar Grajales and Francisco Mancebo on Competitive Cyclist Racing Team could place in the top five, as well as Bissell Pro Cycling Team’s Chris Baldwin. Baldwin won the Glendora Mountain time trial in 2006.

For the pro-women, Mara Abbott and Amber Neben do not appear on the pro-women’s provisional start list. Team TIBCO’s Veronique Fortin or Lindsay Myers, Kristin Armstrong on Exergy Twenty 12, and Primal/MapMyRide’s Alisha Welsh among others could deliver great rides tomorrow. Those out there with expertise on the best women climbers, please comment with your picks for the stage 1 pro-women’s race and add deserving names to this list.

Following the race

The race Twitter feed is @SDStageRace.

San Dimas Stage Race Facebook page.

uRide.tv video streaming of the race.

See the race website for the stage 1 startlist. Pro-women start at 12:40 p.m. and pro-men at 3:15 p.m., Pacific time.

SDSR Stage 1 Glendora Mountain Road (photo by Annette McCusker)

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