The 5 km course rolls for the first couple miles before pitching upward toward the finish on Sunset Boulevard.
"I was a bit surprised at the win," stage winner Sutherland said. "There are a lot of big names here. But the course suits
me and I was on a good day."
Sutherland's victory marked the third consecutive stage win at the Redlands Classic for Sutherland, dating back to
the final two stages of last year's race.
"Day [Ben Day of Toyota - United, editor] started right after me," the 26-year-old Australian said. "He just kept an eye
on me and matched me. When I started to pull away, he just dug a little deeper to stay even."
With Sutherland in the leader's jersey, the Health Net presented by Maxxis team will turn to the tough task of defending
the lead over the next three stages. But with time bonuses available out on the course during the first road stage on Friday,
and the criterium on Saturday, the race will be difficult to control, especially with a field approaching 200 riders, and
the top 25 all within 30 seconds of the lead.
"On paper, tomorrow's stage looks hard," Sutherland said of the 138 km route that includes over 5,000 feet of climbing.
"The race could blow apart. But we have a good group of guys here who know how to handle races. We'll see what we can do to
stay in the jersey tomorrow and go from there."
Ben Day of the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team narrowly missed out on winning the prologue yesterday at the Redlands Bicycle
Classic by a scant 1.99 seconds.
Rounding out the podium and still carrying top form from the Amgen Tour of California was Toyota-United’s Dominique
Rollin with a time of 10:29.
"I felt fairly confident coming in to today’s prologue, as my form has been steadily improving these past few weeks,"
said Ben Day. "I started the prologue hard with the intention to win, but I wasn’t able to catch that carrot dangling
in front of me the entire race, who turned out to be the race winner." Day continued, "Toyota-United really showed its
depth in talent today by placing six riders in the top fifteen, but the boys are psyched to deliver a lot of pain this week
to the exceptionally large peloton of over 200 racers."
"I went out there with no pressure and the intention of giving it my all, seems like the hard work put in lately has paid
off,” said Dominique Rollin. “I'm glad to see that everyone on the team is motivated and has great fitness leading
Yesterdays prologue was just a taste of the explosive racing set for the rest of the week. Todays Stage One Circuit
Race will test the riders endurance as they climb through Beaumont. Saturday's Stage Two Criterium will give spectators
the best opportunity to see the professionals fly by, and Sunday's Stage Three Sunset Road Race will determine the overall
winners of four day event.
Cyclingheroes will publish a race diary with Team Type 1 rider Chris Jones during Redlands, Jones finished 53rd at yesterdays