The 2016 Redlands Bicycle Classic fostered the teams best results to date, with Ulises Castillo storming to victory in the stage 4 downtown criterium, and sealing the weekend off with a spectacular ride on Sunday for 2nd place on the iconic Sunset Stage. The excitement was infectious as Ulises and the team have grown deep roots in the Redlands community. The team hosts families, local junior athletes, and supporters of the team banged on the boards as he raced to victory and swarmed the podium as he celebrated his biggest career win.
The five day even culminated with the Sunset Loop, featuring 12 loops on the technical course including extended steep climbs. The team was well represented from the start, with Fabrizio Von Nacher covering early moves and Eder Frayer and Cory Lockwood riding strong in the front group. Ulises bided his time as the race unfolded and it was apparent the break that was up the road was going to the one that stayed away.
With the field dwindling down, Ulises knew he had to take some big chances to bridge across the 1 minute 30 seconds gap to the group of leaders. The telling head nod from director Paul Abrahams in the feed zone was final catalyst that spurred Ule to make the biggest move of the day.
As the rain subsided, the crowds in downtown Redlands gathered by the jumbo ton screen to watch as the racers neared the circuits in town. The fans had not seen Ulises most of the race, as the cameras were focused on the front group. All of a sudden the viewers saw a flash of bright blue and the crowd erupted in “ULE!!!!” The excitement was palpable as they knew that their star racer was going to enter the 5 finishing circuits with the front group of the race, with the potential to win!
A mere 15 riders were racing to the finish, completing 5 circuits of the criterium course. After 90 miles of racing in the hills of Redlands, the final would be decided in a fast paced sprint to the line. As the laps ticked by, Ulises moved closer to the front in order to be in position for the best result possible. Coming out of the final turn, he was second wheel to Travis McCabe who unleashed a furious sprint to the line. Ulises held on to 2nd and sealed the deal with bike throw to nip 3rd place at the line.
It was an exhilerating culmination to a fantastic week of racing for the entire team. From stage 1 in Highland to the finishing circuits of Sunset, the riders banded together in order to create historic results for Ulises and the team.
Watch Ulises’s post criterium win interview HERE
Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, Infinit Nutrition, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Big Wheel Coaching, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.
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