San Dimas Stage Race gets US season into full swing

The start of the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar is just over a week away, and as usual, the San Dimas Stage Race will serve as an important tune-up for series opener, the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

Most of the top teams will be present for the race in the small Southern California town of San Dimas. The event favors the climbers with a 4.25 mile uphill time trial on Glendora Mountain Road on Friday, followed by the undulating Bonelli Park road race on Saturday. The fast and flat downtown San Dimas criterium completes the three-day race.

The race will have new champions this year, with last year's men's winner, Janier Acevedo graduating to the World Tour, and women's champion Mara Abbott moving over to UnitedHealthcare, who will not be participating in the race.

There are a number of riders on the start list: the race will be the first test for new Jamis-Hagens Berman recruit Daniel Jaramillo, a promising young Colombian climber, and veteran Spanish rider Eloy Teruel. Last year's criterium winner Juan Jose Haedo will also be back in action with the team.

It will also be Jake Keough's nascent outing with his new 5 Hour Energy/Kenda team. Expect Keough to target the road stages, while another new acquisition, Chad Beyer, will be a threat for the general classification.

Jelly Belly-Maxxis will have a strong team comprising former Garmin rider Jacob Rathe, Serghei Tvetcov and Mexican champion Luis Lemus.

On the women's side, former San Dimas champion Amber Neben will make her return with the FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Mr. Restore team. Neben has spent nearly a year rehabilitating injuries sustained in a dramatic crash at the Tour of California women's time trial in San Jose last May.

Neben's former team, Specialized-lululemon, will line up with a strong squad behind former US champion Robin Farina, climber Taylor Wiles, and Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies will be formidable with current US champion Jade Wilcoxson, Brianne Walle and new recruit Amber Pierce. Team TIBCO will field a young team under the guidance of veteran Andrea Dvorak.

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