Pate out of Redlands Bicycle Classic due to illness

Rally Cycling announced on the eve of the Redlands Bicycle Classic that Danny Pate will not compete in the five-day Southern California race because he's still fighting an illness he picked up while the team was racing in Europe.

Pate contracted a bug in February and has not been able to shake it after returning to the US late last month. Tom Soladay will replace him in the Rally line up when Redlands begins Wednesday morning with the Highland Circuit Race.

“Danny has been pushing the limit a bit with juggling racing, traveling, trying to stay fit and recovering from a cold he got near the end of February,” said Rally director Pat McCarty.

“He has seen the light at the end of the tunnel a few times, but just hasn't had the appropriate recovery to get over it,” McCarty said. “We decided to let him stay home to recover, get 100 percent and we'll go from there with his race schedule.”

Pate, who can time trial well and tackle the steep pitches in the road races, was likely going to be one of the team’s protected riders for the general classification.

Although Tom Zirbel has taken over Pate’s number 1 dossard for the race, the big rider from the Midwest will be hard pressed to stay with the leaders on the climb to Oak Glen during stage 2 and is not a contender for the overall. The mantle of leadership will likely fall now on the shoulders of Evan Huffman, Adam de Vos or Will Routley.

Pate signed with the US Continental team in the offseason after spending eight years on the WorldTour, the last four with Team Sky. The 37-year-old American has 14 race days under his belt so far this season at four European races, including La Mediterranean, GP Liberty Seguros, Volta Alentejo and Coppi e Bartali, where Rally placed second in the team time trial.

The team’s revised roster for Redlands includes Soladay, Zirbel, de Vos, Huffman, Routley, Jesse Anthony, Emerson Oronte and Bjorn Selander.

The Redlands Bicycle Classic is the third race of the 2016 USA Cycling Pro Road Tour and the first stage race.

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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.