As expected by the depth in the field, the racing has been hot – in temperature too – at the 30th annual Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic. After two stages, Rock Racing’s Oscar Sevilla leads the overall with 27 seconds on his teammate Francisco Mancebo and 35 seconds on Chris Baldwin of the Ouch p/b Maxxis squad. In the women’s race, the newest member of the Webcor team, Evie Stevens won both stages and has a lead of 18 seconds on Cath Cheatley (Colavita/Sutter Home) and 43 seconds on ValueAct’s Chrissy Ruiter.
Dedicated to a friend. Many expected the first stage, the 71-mile (114 km) Smith Rock Road Race to be a stage for the sprinters but I guess they forgot to let the peloton know. The race was fast from the start with average speeds of 50kph over the first hour as most of the riders from the 170+ field tried to get into the right move. A group of 10 or so riders finally went off the front and then another group of 10 bridged up at the feedzone. Almost every big team was happy with the composition and their numbers in the break with only CalGiant missing the move. The group has 4 BMCs, 2 BISSELLs, 3 Team Type 1s, 3 OUCH-Maxxis, 3 Colavita/Sutter Home and each rider each from the development teams Trek-Livestrong, Land Rover-ORBEA and Felt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin teams.
The riders were not only fighting a headwind to the finish but also the heat as the cars could not come and supply the break with water so many riders finished dry. In the final miles, Team Type 1 attacked to break up the front group, followed quickly by a counter-attack by BMC. Once the riders caught, BISSELL’s Ben Jacques-Maynes broke free in a counter-move with 1 K to the finish and took the win solo. BMC’s Jeff Louder finished second at 14 seconds back with Mancebo a further 2 seconds down. Jacques-Maynes dedicated his win to his close friend and fellow cyclist, Chris Hipp, who died of an embolism while out riding last week.
The peloton rolled in over four minutes later which sets the stage for a fierce battle in the next stages for the 20 riders up on GC.
Stevens surprises everyone even herself. After a slow start to the women’s race on the same course, the first hot spot sprintsignaled the start of the hostilities with TIBCO launching the first salvo followed quickly by NRC leader and Women’s Prestige Points leader, Alison Powers (Team Type 1) which strung the field out just prior to the climb. But it wasn’t until halfway through the race, that the field started to splinter, due to aggressive attacks by TIBCO. With 5K to go, VAC was thinking field sprint and Ruiter moved to set up sprinter Martina Patella into good position, but when Stevens attacked with 1K to go, Ruiter was right there to cover it. The duo established a gap immediately to the hard charging field, with Stevens taking the win. Tina Pic (Colavita/Sutter Home) pipped Ruiter at the line to take third.
The climbers hit it hard. Stage 2, the 78-mile (125 km) Three Creeks Road Race was a day for the climbers. Once again, it took some time before a break was formed, this time a group of four that included Pat McCarty (OUCH), David Vitora (Rock Racing) and Alex Howes (Felt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin). The gap was over 2:30 at one point, but by the final climb the gap was under a minute.
The chasing field blew apart at the bottom of the 10-mile finishing climb with a select group making its way up to the finish. Sevilla threw down an attack that only Peter Stetina (Felt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin) could follow up the climb, plowing through the break to take the win. Stetina finished third, 7 seconds back. The battle was on for the other GC contenders, after launching the first attacks on the climb to break up the group, Baldwin rode tempo toward the finish with Mancebo on his wheel. Mancebo came around him to take third on the stage. Further back, Rory Sutherland (OUCH) stayed glued to Louder’s wheel and then came around him to take fourth on the stage. Jacques-Maynes cracked on the final climb and finished 1:28 back dropping him to seventh overall at 1:18 from the leader.
Stevens does it again. Small breaks went off at the beginning of the women’s race but never managed to get more than a few seconds on the field. It wasn’t until 52 miles into the 80 mile stage that a break got away, just after the Queen of the Mountains sprint. The break included ValueAct’s Kristin Sanders, Webcor’s Erinne Willock, TIBCO’s Amber Rais, Colavita Sutter Home’s Stacy Marple, Lip Smacker’s Anne Samplonius, Team Type 1’s Kori Seehafer and Touchstone’s Olivia Dillon who bridged up. The seven riders built a lead of over 2 minutes with 10 miles to go.
With not all the riders working equally, the break was doomed on the final climb. The dwindling field caught the break with 5 K to go and Stevens grabbed the opportunity and flew off the front. A chase group of 5 riders was formed with Cheatley attacking with 1 k to go to briefly catch Stevens, but Stevens pulled away to take the win ahead of Cheatley. Sensing the danger, McGratch attacked right after Cheatley’s move and took third on the stage.
After two stages, Stetina leads the Young Rider competition 48 seconds ahead of Guy East (Trek-Livestrong). Sevilla is also the leader in the KOM tied with Baldwin, both with 5 points. Raymond Kreder (Felt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin) leads the Sprints competition with 6 points, one more than Jacques-Maynes.
In the women’s race, TIBCO’s Julie Beveridge leads the Best Young Rider, 56 seconds ahead of Ally Stacher (Wines of Washington/bikesale.com). Stevens also leads the QOM, tied at 5 points with her teammate Amy Dombroski. Pic leads the Sprints competition with 10 points, also tied with Kristy Broun.
Race of truth. Thursday is the time trial, a 16-mile (25 km) out-and-back course featuring a seven-mile climb. “It’s a course designed for a strong time trialist,” said ValueAct Directeur Sportif Lisa Hunt. “It’s mostly an uphill grind going out and a downhill coming back. A lot can change on GC after tomorrow.”
“The times are still close and if it goes like last year, there will be minute gaps at the end of the day.” said Louder in the team report.
What will the absence of the Rock Racing’s team car mean for the next road stages on Friday and Sunday? According to the official race communique, “Due to repeated incidents of Dangerous Driving, the Rock Racing Team vehicle is eliminated from further participation in the team caravan.” What did DS Lorenzo LaPage do in the caravan?
- KOHD’s stage 1 including interviews with both winners, KTVZ’s stage 2
- Team reports BISSELL: stage 1, BMC: stage 1, stage 2, OUCH: stage 2, Team Type 1 stage 1, Webcor stage 1, ValueAct: stage 1, stage 2,
- Riders reports: BISSELL’s Paul Mach stage 1, stage 2, TIBCO’s Alison Starnes stage 1, stage 2