With time gaps still tight after a short prologue, the 74-mile (119-km) McKenzie Pass Road Race with two decisive climbs put the stage winner into the leader’s jersey on Wednesday at the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic.
Women. Kristin McGrath (Peanut Butter & CO Twenty12) outsprinted her breakmates at the top of the 10-mile climb to the finish at Three Creeks Snow Park to win the stage ahead of Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) and Kathryn Donovan (SC Velo-Empower Coaching).
McGrath, Dvorak, Donovan and Kristen LaSasso (Primal/MapMyRide) were part of a larger breakaway that escaped the field earlier in the stage. Erinne Willock (TIBCO/To The Top) put in a massive attack in the final three kilometers on the climb to catch most of the break and finish fifth, at 13 seconds down.
Dvorak was the first to crest McKenzie Pass and now leads the QOM classification. TIBCO’s Carmen Small leads the points classification. Rushlee Buchanan (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) takes over the Best Young Rider jersey.
McGrath takes over the GC classification with 17 seconds on Dvorak and 22 seconds on Willock. The expected three-way GC battle between Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12, Colavita/Forno d’Asolo and TIBCO is on but Clara Hughes (Cycling BC) should not be discounted yet.
Men. Tight GC, huge field, nerves, downhill start, bad luck? One or all of the above. A huge crash took down between 30 to 40 riders early in the men’s stage as they were zooming down towards the bottom of McKenzie Pass. The field slowed down to let everyone that could catch back up before the attacks started again.
A small break which included Alex Howes (Chipotle Development) and Tim Johnson (TJ’s Summer Job CDale/CXWord) as the field made its way up the 20-mile climb to the lava fields. Once again, a few crashes took down some riders early on in the climb but the pace was quickly ramped up. Under pressure, the field split up with a lead chase group of around 12 riders making it to the top.
The group took a breather before the feedzone which allowed more riders to catch back on swelling the numbers back up to around 50. But the respite didn’t last long with attacks on the descent. A few riders once again managed to escape before the town of Sisters but they would be reeled in on the lower slopes of Three Creeks.
The lead group dwindled under a flurry of attacks on the final climb with RealCyclist.com’s Francisco Mancebo covering many of the moves. With less than two kilometers to go, Mancebo’s teammate Cesar Grajales put in a dig that no one could match to climb into yellow. Mancebo crossed the line five seconds later ahead of Howes.
First to crest McKenzie Pass, Howes now leads the KOM classification while Carlos Alzate (Exergy) leads the sprint competition. Lachlan Morton (Chipotle Development) takes over the Best Young Rider classification with a seven-second lead on Ian Boswell (Trek-Livestrong).
The RealCyclist.com duo of Grajales and Mancebo now lead the GC. Howes sits in third at 12 seconds back followed by Morton at 18 seconds. The BISSELL pair of Jeremy Vennell and Chris Baldwin follow at 21 and 24 seconds each. With the time trial coming up, Vennell and Baldwin should move up on GC promising a fun battle in future road stages.
Racing continues on Thursday with the 14-mile (22-km) Skyliners Time Trial. The first man goes off at 10am PST and the first woman at 12:15pm PST.
Crashes.Unfortunately, many riders went down, hard, during stage 1. Out of the race are Megan Hottman (Primal/MapMyRide) with a fractured collarbone and rib. Matt Cronshaw (Raleigh UK) with a broken wrist, Michael Freidberg (V Australia) with a fractured rib and Aaron Kemps (V Australia) with a concussion
Dale Parker (Trek-Livestrong) is also out of the race after the crash. Best wishes to all that were injured.
So what caused all these crashes?
Philip Mooney (Raleigh UK) said on twitter: “Big crash on descent was bad luck. Some dude with front wheel puncture when we were going really fast started it all. After the crash we went neutral almost to the base of the climb. It was super bunched up at the beginning cause it was easy. Guys were fighting for position at slow speed on narrow roads. Lots of braking while climbing and guys tipped over. Once we got going on the climb it was safe. As soon as it started getting hard. Rest of stage was good. That’s what I think anyway. The course is generally safe and can easily handle 200 guys. Good organization. Good race.”
Evan Huffman (CalGiant) said: “The field was really big, 200 riders and people were just really nervous. Everyone wants to be at the front on the first climb because it’s a pretty long, hard climb. It makes a big difference if you’re at the front, at the back you can be on the edge of making it over so I think all the crashes were due to guys being nervous and really taking a lot of risks to stay at the front. Fairly normal considering it was the first road stage, not a lot of big gaps on GC yet.”
Top 10 Women Les Schwab McKenzie Pass Road Race
1. Kristin Mcgrath (Peanut Butter & Co.Twenty12) 3:24:44
2. Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo ) 3:24:44
3. Kathryn Donovan (SC Velo – Empower Coaching) 3:24:46
4. Kristen T Lasasso (Primal/MapMyRide ) 3:24:46
5. Erinne Willock (Team TIBCO/To the Top) 3:24:57
6. Clara Hughes (Cycling BC ) 3:25:17
7. Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Co.Twenty12) 3:25:17
8. Joelle Numainville (Team TIBCO/To the Top) 3:25:17
9. Janel Holcomb (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo ) 3:25:17
10. Jade Wilcoxson (NOW and Novartis For MS) 3:25:30
Top 10 Men Les Schwab McKenzie Pass Road Race
1. Cesar Grajales (Realcyclist.Com Pro Cycling) 2:45:56
2. Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.Com Pro Cycling) 0:00:05
3. Alex Howes (Chipotle Development Team) 0:00:05
4. Ian Boswell* (Trek-Livestrong) 0:00:07
5. Phil Gaimon (Kenda/5hr Energy p/b) 0:00:07
6. Dustin Macburnie (Team H&R Block) 0:00:07
7. Chris Baldwin (Bissell Pro Cycling) 0:00:07
8. George Bennett* (Trek-Livestrong) 0:00:07
9. Lachlan Morton* (Chipotle Development Team) 0:00:07
10. Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Pro Cycling) 0:00:10
Top 10 Women GC After Stage 1
1. Kristin Mcgrath (Peanut Butter & Co.Twenty12) 3:28:40
2. Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo ) 0:00:17
3. Erinne Willock (Team TIBCO/To the Top) 0:00:22
4. Kristen T Lasasso (Primal/MapMyRide) 0:00:23
5. Clara Hughes (Cycling BC) 0:00:32
6. Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Co.Twenty12) 0:00:32
7. Kathryn Donovan (SC Velo – Empower Coaching) 0:00:34
8. Janel Holcomb (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) 0:00:42
9. Joelle Numainville (Team TIBCO/To the Top) 0:00:45
10. Jade Wilcoxson (NOW and Novartis For MS) 0:00:49
Top 10 Men GC After Stage 1
1. Cesar Grajales (Realcyclist.Com Pro Cycling) 2:49:29
2. Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.Com Pro Cycling) 0:00:05
3. Alex Howes (Chipotle Development Team) 0:00:12
4. Lachlan Morton* (Chipotle Development Team) 0:00:18
5. Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Pro Cycling) 0:00:21
6. Chris Baldwin (Bissell Pro Cycling) 0:00:24
7. Ian Boswell* (Trek-Livestrong) 0:00:25
8. George Bennett* (Trek-Livestrong) 0:00:25
9. Phil Gaimon (Kenda/5hr Energy p/b Geargrinder) 0:00:28
10. Dustin Macburnie (Team H&R Block) 0:00:33