Redlands, California – Ben Day said he put pressure on himself to successfully repeat his victory in the prologue of the 26th annual Redlands Bicycle Classic. But the Fly V Australia rider was quick to add he would not have had it any other way.
Day won Thursday’s uphill, 3.1-mile (5 km) Sun Time Trial race in 9 minutes and 16 seconds, two seconds faster than Carter Jones (Jelly Belly Cycling presented by Kenda). Jones’s teammate, Kiel Reijnen, was third, another two seconds back. “I went in as the favorite and that adds a bit of pressure, but I kind of drew on that today,” Day said. “I didn’t win by much but I'm really, really happy to win.”
The victory was the 16th of the season for Fly V Australia, a second-year continental team that aims to achieve ProTour status and one day represent Australia in the Tour de France. At the San Dimas Stage Race last week, Day also won the prologue and successfully defended his lead through to the end of the three-day race.
“Last week, I was surprised that my legs were feeling so good,” Day said. “Today, I even had a little bit left in the tank at the end.” But the 31-year-old native of Brisbane, Australia, said he didn’t realize he had won until he rode his De Rosa Formula time trial bike back to the start area – where his Fly V Australia teammates and staff members were waiting to congratulate him.
“The boys were there with their arms in the air to congratulate me,” Day said. “The guys are all great.” By virtue of his win on a course that gained 680-feet (207 meters) of elevation, Day also earned the red jersey as leader of the Best Climber competition.
Fly V Australia Director Sportif Henk Vogels said the team is confident it can defend the lead in the Stage 1 City of Beaumont Road Race. Friday’s 105.7-mile (170 km) race consists of one lap around a 35.7-mile loop, followed by four laps of a 17.5-mile circuit.
“We have a really strong team,” Vogels said. “We'll do it like we did last week. We'll put a few guys on the front and save a few guys on the back. As fast as Ben went up the hill today and last week, I don't think he'll have a problems at all tomorrow.”