The revamped Mackenzie Pass Road Race, with the climb over stark Mackenzie Pass after about 24 miles (40 km) of mostly flats or downhill to finish with a 9-mile (16 km) climb to Three Creeks at the end of the roughly 74-mile (119 km) route that delivered over 7,000 feet (2133 m) of climbing.
Duel is on. NRC leader Cath Cheatley (Colavita/Baci) emerged from a breakaway to take the win 2 seconds ahead of a chasing Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12). Best Young Rider and Cheatley’s teammate Rushlee Buchanan won the sprint for third as the field gobbled the remaining riders from the break. Leader into the stage Alison Powers (Team VBF) finished 8th at over three minutes back and dropped to 5th overall.
After some re-shuffle and counter-attacks once the first break of the day was caught, a 6-rider break was off on the climb up MacKenzie Pass. But the group didn’t stay together as Abbott attacked and the chase was on. She was finally caught at the bottom of Three Creeks and dueled with Cheatley for the win.
Cheatley now leads with 26 seconds on Abbott and 2:25 on Buchanan. Erinne Willock (Webcor) sits in 4th at 2:34 down followed by Powers at 2:35 back. Abbott leads the QOM and Sprint competitions.
Of note, Alison Starnes (TIBCO/To The Top) crashed hard and had to be air-lifted out via helicopter. We send our best wishes for a fast recovery.
UnitedHealthcare go 1-2. (Report from UHC): Former Rabobank teammates, Marc de Maar and Rory Sutherland attacked out of a splintering peloton with a few kilometers left on the climb to the finish at Three Creeks Snow Park, with only Fly V Australia’s Darren Lill jumping on. In the end, de Maar’s final-sprint attack netted him the stage win by a second, while Sutherland took the second spot on the stage and the all-important yellow leader’s jersey in the process. The win also moved de Maar up into 2nd overall from 29th after the prologue. Lill finished 3rd.
“It’s just like in the old days,” said de Maar, who was sporting his newly-earned Dutch Antilles national champion’s jersey for the first time in a road race.
“Marc and I raced together for a couple years on the Rabobank continental team,” Sutherland added. “We come out of the same school of thought and we know how to race together. Our styles compliment one another.”
“The team rode great today,” Sutherland said. “The first 40 km, we covered moves And made sure we were in anything that went up the road.”
That included Brad White’s presence in the first 6-rider break of the day to gain any traction. When that came back, a second move of four riders got away, with de Maar and Lill later bridging across. That move came back as well, but one final move got off the front.
When the effort of the final climb combined with stomach issues unhitched Matt Crane (UnitedHealthcare) from the front group, his team put in a serious effort to chase down the break.
When the front group was about to get caught, de Maar and Sutherland launched their winning attack, with Lill in tow, finishing the job of fracturing the peloton and creating a serious sorting at the top of the general classification.
“Today was one of the hardest stages so far in the U.S. this year,” de Maar said. “It always hurts a bit more coming back after a break. You have to get used to the higher heart rate again. But the prologue helped open things up a bit and today was good.”
Sutherland agreed with de Maar’s assessment of the difficulty of today’s stage. “The bunch really raced the Mackenzie Pass climb in the middle of the stage which was a bit of a surprise, but also good for us because it softened up some legs a bit,” he said. “When it came down to the final climb, the boys did a good job of getting us to where we needed to be.”
Leader into the stage Jesse Sergent (Trek-Livestrong) finished at over 6 minutes down. Lill leads the KOM competition and Frank Pipp (BISSELL) the sprint competition.
Sutherland leads GC with 2 seconds on de Maar and 13 seconds on Lill. David Tanner (Fly V Australia) sits in fourth at 20 seconds back followed by Best Young Rider Ben King (Trek-Livestrong) who is 23 seconds down.
The racing continues with stage 2, the Skyliners Time Trial p/b Hutch’s Bicycles. A 16 miles (25.8 km) out and back course with a climb to the turn around point.
“There should be some good gaps for the TT tomorrow,” Sutherland said. “We’re both confident about the TT. We know the course, and we’ll just give it our best and see what happens.”
Top 10 Women Stage 1 Results (Complete Results)
1. Cath Cheatley (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling) 3:26:55
2. Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12) +0:00:02
3. Rushlee Buchanan* (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling) +0:02:15
4. Erinne Willock (Webcor Builders) +0:02:18
5. Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling) +0:02:49
6. Amber Rais (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling) +0:03:04
7. Emily Kachorek (Touchstone Climbing) +0:03:04
8. Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) +0:03:04
9. Meredith Miller (Team TIBCO) +0:03:04
10. Alisha Welsh (Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12) +0:03:04
Top 10 Women GC After Stage 1 (Complete Results)
1. Cath Cheatley (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling) 3:30:46
2. Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12) +0:00:26
3. Rushlee Buchanan* (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling) +0:02:25
4. Erinne Willock (Webcor Builders) +0:02:34
5. Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) +0:03:06
6. Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling) +0:03:10
7. Meredith Miller Team TIBCO 3:34:01 0:03:15
8. Amber Rais (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling) +0:03:18
9. Alisha Welsh (Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12) +0:03:25
10. Emily Kachorek (Touchstone Climbing) +0:03:28
Top 10 Men Stage 1 Results (Complete Results)
1. Marc De Maar (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) 2:58:50
2. Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) +0:00:02
3. Darren Lill (Fly V Australia) +0:00:04
4. David Tanner (Fly V Australia) +0:00:14
5. Ian Boswell* (BISSELL Pro Cycling) +0:00:14
6. Jonathan P Mccarty (Matrix/Richardson Bike Mart) +0:00:14
7. Tyler Wren (Jamis Sutter Home p/b Colavita) +0:00:14
8. Jai Crawford (Fly V Australia) +0:00:14
9. Cesar Grajales (Cole Sport p/b High West) +0:00:14
10. Benjamin T. King* (Trek-LIVESTRONG) +0:00:14
Top 10 Men GC After Stage 1 (Complete Results)
1. Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) 3:02:22
2. Marc De Maar (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) +0:00:02
3. Darren Lill (Fly V Australia) +0:00:13
4. David Tanner (Fly V Australia) +0:00:20
5. Benjamin T. King* (Trek-LIVESTRONG) +0:00:23
6. Cesar Grajales (Cole Sport p/b High West) +0:00:26
7. Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies) +0:00:29
8. Tyler Wren (Jamis Sutter Home p/b Colavita) +0:00:30
9. Jonathan P Mccarty (Matrix/Richardson Bike Mart) +0:00:30
10. Jai Crawford (Fly V Australia) +0:00:30