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Alejandro Borrajo (Colavita) took the final stage in a sprint, after the peloton denied him a breakaway victory
Borrajo sprints to victory while Botero takes overall By Kirsten Robbins Rock Racing had their hands...
By Kirsten Robbins
Rock Racing had their hands full in the final and most demanding stage of the Redlands Classic on the Sunset circuit race. The Colombian Santiago Botero, former world time trial champion, brought his lime and black clad-team the overall win, ahead of Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United) and Burke Swindlehurst (Bissell).
Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light stretched their legs on the final five short circuits to bring their Argentinean sprinter Alejandro Borrajo in position to take the stage victory from a diminished thirty-rider field. Borrajo sprinted ahead of Tony Cruz (BMC) and Rory Sutherland (Health Net).
Overall race winner Santiago Botero commented on his team's performance in controlling the peloton over the Sunset circuit's twelve laps as a gesture of solid teamwork. "Without my team there would be no win," said Botero regarding his 2008 Rock Racing team-mates.
"I am really happy to have won my first stage race in the USA and grateful to all of the work my team did to achieve this," continued Botero, who took over the leader's jersey after his stage one solo victory in Beaumont. "I knew that I had to gain time on the first stage and hold it in the stage two criterium and today's stage three because it would be easier for us to maintain the lead [by] my setting tempo and staying safe each day. I noticed that the teams here at this race were very strong and it was not easy for us here."
Stage winner Alejandro Borrajo noted that the circuit's grueling climb and technical, fast descent matched perfectly to his ability as a rider of attrition with a speedy finishing kick. "I really liked the circuit today and I knew I could do well here today," said Borrajo.
"My team executed our plan to win the stage perfectly," continued Borrajo, regarding his team's effort in winning the overall team competition by keeping their numbers high for the end of the race. "I tried to attack on the last lap of the big loop but it did not stay away; but with five of my team-mates still in the front group, they gave me a perfect lead-out to the line. I'd really like to thank John O'Connelly for inviting my team to stay with him in Santa Rosa to prepare for this event together."
More on the men's race in Robbins' report of the final stage.
Webcor's former Canadian national champion Alex Wrubleski slowly picked away at the time bonus sprints to claim the overall victory in the Redlands Classic. Wrubleski sealed the overall lead after she won the final sprint in the Sunset circuit race to take the ultimate stage victory ahead of Leigh Hobson (Cheerwine) and Kim Anderson (High Road).
Current US national road champion Mara Abbott led the Redlands classic with a twenty-five second cushion after the Sun prologue. However, after a tactical battle through the final stage, Wrubleski earned the necessary twelve seconds needed to overtake Abbott for the overall win, while Katharine Carroll (Aaron's) maintained her third place position. While using her sprint to pick up time bonuses, Wrubleski captured enough points to solidify her lead in both the points and QOM jerseys.
"We were definitely the underdogs after the prologue," said triple jersey winner Alex Wrubleski. "So we knew it wasn't going to be impossible to win the overall but that it would be hard. I also knew that Mara was a really good climber but after the first climbing stage I was pretty sure that I was really close to Mara in terms of climbing ability. Because I knew that she wouldn't be able to get away from me on the climbs, our plan was to have me slowly pick away at all the time bonuses everyday and keep moving ahead on GC."
While Abbott expressed her disappointment in coming up short on seconds, she commended her team on their effort to hold onto the leader's jersey. "My team was amazing this week, they did everything perfectly," said Abbott. "It comes down to seconds some times in these races and unfortunately I wasn't able to get enough of those in the right places. I love Redlands and I'm looking forward to this race next year."
The full women's report is available.