The Cuban Marlies Mejías García (Virginia Blue Ridge-Twenty24) won this Wednesday, April 12, the first stage of the Redlands Bicycle Classic 2023, which took place over 66.5 kilometers on a Highland circuit, where she marked 1:41:03, valid to also wear the yellow shirt of the leader of the American contest.
Behind the West Indian was the local Alia Shafi (Fount Cycling) and the Mexican Marcela Prieto (Pato Bike), both with the same time, who engaged in the uphill sprint, together with the also American Schneider Skylar (L39ION of Los Angeles) and Hicks Anna (USA Cycling Redlands DT), fourth and fifth in the segment.
“I feel very happy with this victory and for having won against great cyclists who participate in this race,” declared Mejías exclusively, who took the lead in the Redlands Bicycle Classic, which brings together 92 cyclists and 17 teams to fight for the victory in five stages.
This Thursday there will be a segment of 99.5 kilometers on a circuit in Yucaipa, while a 14.6 time trial is scheduled for Friday. The last two days will be 62 and 109.8 kilometers, and from now on the Cuban Marlies Mejías expressed her interest in keeping the leader’s jersey.
The Redlands Bicycle Classic is the longest continuous race invitational professional stage race on the American calendar. It began in 1985 after the 1984 Olympic Games had been held in Los Angeles and the US team had won a record number of medals in cycling.
This fair has been the foundation of the early national racing scene for 35 years, with local residents providing accommodation for most of the riders.
The race was postponed two years due to the COVID pandemic before returning in 2022. Tyler Stites (Project Echelon) sealed the men’s overall victory last year after finishing third on the final stage, the iconic Sunset Road Race.
In the women’s race, Heidi Franz (Instafund) capitalized on the tough final day of the race by breaking away mid-stage and snatching away for overall victory. The five women’s and men’s stages take place in and around Redlands, California, and include a circuit race, a time trial, a criterium, and two road races.