Astana’s Chris Horner talks about the crit with Bend Bulletin
The GC contenders tried to stay safe in the fast, flat 6-corner twilight criterium in downtown Bend and the sprinters came to the forefront.
After 90 minutes of racing, Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United) pipped Kyle Gritters (Health Net-Maxxis) at the line in the bunch sprint to win the stage. Ricardo Escuela (Successful Living) was third.
“Before the race, it was our race to lose.” said Toyota-United DS Len Pettyjohn to KTVZ after the race. “There was a little bit of pressure on our guys to perform because everybody expect thats.”
As soon as the early break went away, the complete Toyota-United team came to the front to control the field, never letting the gap increase to more than 20 seconds. As per the plan, the team reeled it back with less than 10 laps to go and set up their fast man Rollin.
“It’s quite comforting to see our guys showing up there, it allows us to show strength and scares everyone else, it gets quiet.” said a happy Rollin to KTVZ about having his whole team at the front. “It’s actually easier to be out front, you’re not fighting for position, you’re not always slamming on the breaks before a corner so you can kind of keep a steady pace. It makes the race a little bit smoother.”
“It was a hairy crit with tons of crashes.” wrote BMC DS Gavin Chilcott in the team report. Unfortunately for the team, Jonathan Garcia who is just returning to racing after a crash at Tour de Suisse, crashed again. He didn’t finish the stage and required stitches but he was given a pro-rated time and will be able to race again tomorrow.
Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) also crashed out with more serious injuries, a broken collarbone.
No changes in the overall classification. Astana’s Levi Leipheimer has a 1:58 lead ahead of Tom Zirbel (Bissell) and BMC’s Jeff Louder is third, a further 4 seconds back. Only one minute and 11 seconds separate the second and seventh spots in the GC with 2 BMC riders Louder and Darren Lill, 2 riders from Toyota-United: Chris Baldwin and Chris Wherry, Zirbel and Matt Wilson (Team type 1). And then, we have 5 Garmen in the classification at 1:34 from Louder.
In the other competitions, Wilson leads the KOM and Garmin-Chipotle’s Peter Stetina leads the Best Young Rider competition and Garmin-Chipotle leads the team classification.
In the women’s race, after 60 minutes of racing, Tibco’s Brooke Miller took the honors ahead of Gina Grain (Webcor) and Alison Testroete (Aaron’s).
“We wanted the win and when it was apparent that it was going to be a field sprint, I stayed top five and used the other teams lead outs to bring me in,” said Miller to cyclingnews. “I wanted to start the sprint behind Gina Grain who was the fastest sprinter with the best lead out.”
The pace was kept high by ValueAct, Webcor, Tibco and Aaron’s and breaks were tried, but none were successful, but the high tempo did reduce the numbers in the field with riders being shelled out the back and eventually pulled by the officials. Yellow jersey Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo-Lifeforce) always present in the top 10 on the peloton, staying safe and keeping an eye on things.
No changes in the women’s GC either. Armstrong still has a commanding in the overall classification of 1:55 ahead of Christine Thorburn (Webcor) and 2:50 ahead of Julie Beveridge (Aaron’s). Kristin Sanders (Aaron’s) leads the QOM competition, her teammate Beveridge leads the Best Young Rider competition and Webcor leads the team classification.
Next up is Stage 5, the Cascade Lakes Road Race which utilizes most of the same roads of past year’s events. The riders will take the Cascade Lakes Highway up to Mt. Bachelor before turning south on Forest Service Roads that travel around Crane Prairie Reservoir Elk Lake and the infamous Sparks Lake climb before finishing at the Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort. The pro men will race over a 83-mile (134 km) course while the pro women ride 67 miles (108 km). (Women’s course profile here)
“We’ve got a good plan for today though. The stage starts out with a pretty stiff climb up to 6000 ft with another mountain top finish.” wrote Garman Blake Caldwell about stage 5.