Barring disasters, the GC was set before the final stage of the Mt Hood Cycling Classic, the traditional technical criterium in Hood River.
A final test for the fast twitch muscles, the 1-mile loop that starts off with a sharp right hand turn, quick descent into a left hand curve followed immediately by a sharp right hand turn coming back nearly 120 degrees. Then a long flat straight to gather speed, before a series of three 90 degree right hand turns and then a left that brings the riders back the start/finish line.
Yellow Jersey Rory Sutherland and his team Health Net-Maxxis, including US Criterium Champion Kirk O’Bee, controlled the race and made sure that no threatening riders were allowed to escape. Sutherland and his shadows, second on GC Darren Lill (BMC) and third Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) could be seen at the front third of the field at every lap.
In the first few loops, the men initiated a break that would actually survive until the end. Lap after lap, riders joined to form a 10-man group. The escapees included familiar names to breaks, Alessandro Bazzana (Successful Living), Toyota-United pair Ivan Stevic and Chris Wherry, Dan Bowman (Kelly Benefit/Medifast), Andrew Pinfold (Symmetrics), Neil Shirley (Jittery Joe’s), Jesse Moore (Cal Giant), Rock Racing duo of David Clinger and Doug Ollerenshaw looking to lock up the Sprinters Jersey for Ollerenshaw. In a familiar refrain, the last rider to join the break was Teddy King (Bissell).
Canadian Pinfold focused on the final prize
Clinger led out Ollerenshaw in the intermediate Sprints to clinch the overall Sprints competition. Ollerenshaw would try and return the favor, lead out Clinger for the final win but disaster struck for the RR pair.
All the riders in the break worked well together and kept the field at bay until the end. The Heath Net-Maxxis team was happy to let them go and concentrated on keeping tabs on the danger men to Sutherland, Lill, Jacques-Maynes and Mike Creed (Rock Racing).
The break was still together in the final lap when the Rock Racing duo crashed with Bazzana and Shirley caught behind them.
Pinfold never looked back, got on Wherry’s wheel and outsprinted Stevic for the win. Bazzana was able to sprint back to the break and got third. Stevic was obviously unhappy during the podium ceremony, refusing to shake Pinfold’s hand. Here are the photos from the finish, make up your own mind:
Sutherland won his second stage race in two weeks, Lill finished second and Jacques-Maynes third. Even though he crashed, Ollerenshaw won the Sprints classification, Andy Bajadali (Kelly Benefit/Medifast) won the KOM, Schmitt, the Best Young Rider and Bissell won the overall team classification.
In the women’s race, the Colavita/Sutter Home continued with their winning streak with crits. As expected the pace started off high, and US Crit Champion Tina Pic was stuck behind a rider at the start line and had to work her way up to the front.
Then with a few laps remaining, Jeannie Longo came to the front to start her assault to the finish line. Kim Anderson, riding for the composite team Discover Bicycles/Athletes for a Cure, also gave it a go in the final laps and managed to get a small gap before being reeled in.
Pic outsprinted Kiesanowski and Longo, riding for the composite team River City Racing, to cross the line first.
Canadian Julie Beveridge (Aaron’s) kept the leader’s jersey even though she crashed in the last 100 meters, as she was given the same time as the field. With time bonuses for third place, Longo moved up to second place on GC bumping three-times Mt Hood winner Leah Goldstein (ValueAct). Amazingly, the 49-year old Longo had already won three World Road Championship before Beveridge was born in 1988.
Leigh Hobson (Cheerwine) won the QOM jersey, Beveridge was also the Best Young Rider and the Aaron’s team won the best team classification.