Friday, April 4, 2008
2008 Redlands Bicycle Classic Prologue
The 2008 Redlands Classic kicked off with a five kilometer prologue at Panorama Point, where Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis) stormed to the top in a time of 9:51 to win ahead of the Toyota-United pair Ben Day and Dominique Rollin.
"I think it is difficult to train for something specific like the Sun Time Trial," said the race winner who used his familiarity with the course to gain the seconds he needed to the victory. "You have to find your game in all areas to do well in a race like Redlands."
"I know this area because I lived here for a few months last year," Sutherland continued. "I'd had been looking at the course for a few days and I felt good today. Its been a while since I've had the power in my legs and I knew it would come back after Tour of California. But really your head had to be right and you had to have a bit of luck and have things fall into place here today."
Sutherland proved strongest on the day against a strong field of domestic racers like Day, Rollin (Toyota-United) and Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) as well as seasoned European racing veterans like Oscar Sevilla and Victor Hugo Pena (Rock Racing).
"I think if people look at last week in San Dimas they can see that there is a lot of talent in the field and it is also a packed field," said Sutherland regarding last week's tactical stage race held in San Dimas. "I wouldn't say I was the favourite by a long stretch."
Sutherland noted that the Redlands Classic is notorious for being an unpredictable event where things can change in the last moment of the last stage. In last year's event, Andrew Bajadali took the lead in the Sunset circuit race on the final day.
"I think we are going to have to play it day by day," said Sutherland regarding his Health Net squad's strategy to maintain the overall. "There is something different in the new course that changes things a lot."
"The Toyota-United boys behind me here are also two of my really good friends and it would be nice to stay on the podium with them. But we also have a great group of guys, maybe not the strongest team on paper. But hey, today there were people predicted to win who didn't, so we'll see how it goes. We saw last year that it is a difficult race to predict – it's day by day, hour by hour."