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Interview: Alex Stieda

Interview of Alex Stieda by Evan Trubee

His name will be forever etched into the annals of cycling lore. Before Greg Lemond and Lance Armstrong pried loose the European death grip on the Tour de France, it was another man, Alex Stieda, who became the first North American to don the Maillot Jaune. On a daring solo attack on Stage 1 of the 1986 edition of the Grand Boucle Stieda accumulated enough time bonuses on the road to snatch the overall race lead.

Stieda’s professional cycling career spanned 15 years and while he will be best remembered for his Tour de France exploits he also participated in some of the early editions of the Redlands Bicycle Classic as a member of the powerful 7-11 squad. Stieda helped his teammates Davis Phinney win the overall Redlands title in 1986 and Dag Otto Lauritzen in 1987. He was kind enough to share some of his memories of the Classic:

Tell us about some of your overall career highlights and proudest moments, how many years did you race professionally and for which teams?
I raced for 7-11 for 10 years and 15 years as a pro.

How many times did you race the Redlands Bicycle Classic and in which years?
Can’t remember exactly but at least 3 times – in the smog of Memorial Day weekend! In the 80’s at some point!

What spot did the race occupy on the team calendar/on your personal calendar? i.e. was it a target race or a building block for the rest of the season?
It was an important race for us as there weren’t many stage races around and this race was a staple for us to go to.

What if anything made the race special for you?
The atmosphere that Carol and Rick Beswick created was really great. They cared about the event.

How would you describe the atmoshpere surrounding the race, the overall feel?
Same as above!

What were some of the critical stages or points within the race that you feel separated the winners from the rest?
The RR was always tough and especially so when it was smoggy – our lungs hurt bad after each stage!

Tell us about your most memorable moment from the Redlands Bicycle Classic:
Really, it was the atmosphere that made it great – people in the town cared about the race and how their town looked when we were there.

His name will be forever etched into the annals of cycling lore. Before Greg Lemond and Lance Armstrong pried loose the European death grip on the Tour de France, it was another man, Alex Stieda, who became the first North American to don the Maillot Jaune. On a daring solo attack on Stage 1 of the 1986 edition of the Grand Boucle Stieda accumulated enough time bonuses on the road to snatch the overall race lead.

Stieda’s professional cycling career spanned 15 years and while he will be best remembered for his Tour de France exploits he also participated in some of the early editions of the Redlands Bicycle Classic as a member of the powerful 7-11 squad. Stieda helped his teammates Davis Phinney win the overall Redlands title in 1986 and Dag Otto Lauritzen in 1987. He was kind enough to share some of his memories of the Classic.

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