The pressure was put on the yellow jersey on the final stage of the BMC Cascade Cycling Classic. The combination of a tough hilly circuit, temperatures in the high 90s, fast pace and non-stop attacking led to a late break sticking in both the men’s and womens’ races with different outcomes.
Though isolated on the final lap, his teammates shelled off the back after working hard, an isolated Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com) was able to defend his yellow jersey and win his third NRC stage race. In the women’s race, Janel Holcomb (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) made it into the break that stuck and claimed her second overall NRC stage race this year.
Bobby Sweeting (Kenda/5-hour Energy) attacked the break in the final 3 km to solo to the finish line weaving his way through the back of the women’s field. Anne Samplonius (NOW and Novartis for MS) took the final 2-up sprint to claim the stage ahead of Holcomb.
Women. Lots of attacks in the first half of the 67-mile circuit race with Holcomb initiating a promising move on the second lap. She was quickly joined by six riders who pushed the pace to get a gap of over one minute by the end of the second lap.
Though promising, the break was caught by a chase group but after some re-shuffling and a solo attack by Samplonius, a new 11-rider break was off the front. Samplonius, Holcomb and Kasey Clark (Primal/MapMyRide) had once again made the front group. Joining the two were Meredith Miller (TIBCO/To The Top), Kathryn Donovan (SC Velo-Empower Coaching), Melanie Colavito and Anna McLoon (Missing Link Coaching/Specialized), Kaytee Boyd and Lauren Ellis (BikeNZ), Clark’s teammate Gwen Inglis and Samplonius’ teammate USA Road National Champion Robin Farina.
Leader into the stage Clara Hughes (Cycling BC) could not shut it down and watched her the overall lead roll away. Also missing in the move were riders from Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12 to protect Kristin McGrath‘s third place on GC.
The lead group shattered the next time up the climb and Holcomb, Farina, Samplonius and Boyd had 40 seconds on the remnants of the break and over one minute to the dwindling field by the start of the fourth lap.
Holcomb attacked on the final climb shedding all but Samplonius who clawed her way back. Samplonius took the win ahead of Holcomb. Crossing the line over a minute later, Boyd was third.
Holcomb wins the overall. Samplonius is second at 23 seconds down and Hughes hung on to third. Dvorak won the QOM and Samplonius took the sprint jersey. Rushlee Buchanan (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) took home the final Best Young Rider jersey.
Men. Aggressive racing with non-stop attacking took its toll in the men’s 83-mile stage. No one was managing to escape off the front for long but many were shelled off the back by the mid-way point. So aggressive that Mancebo himself jumped into a dangerous move to shut it down.
Shuffing and re-shuffling at the front on the third lap while the field exploded into multiple groups. RealCyclist was burning up riders chasing everything down. The right combination was found and nine riders were off. In the move were a Chipotle Development trio of Lachlan Morton, Danny Summerhill and Alex Howes, Mike Creed (Kelly Benefit Strategies-Optumhealth), Shem Rodger (Pureblack Racing), George Bennett and Ian Boswell of Trek-Livestrong, Stefano Barbieri (Yahoo! Cyling) and Sweeting.
The gap was up to one minute as the break climbed at the end of the fourth lap and alarm bells were ringing in the field. Morton was a danger man on GC, sitting at 1:22 down. Mancebo took up the chase at the front of the field.
With 20 km left in the race, the gap to the field was up to 1:25 and a chase had jumped. Would the U23 riders be able to unseat Mancebo?
The break splintered under the pace set by the Chipotle Development riders but Mancebo was chasing hard. The gap stared to come down. Sweeting attacked with less than 3 km to go after cresting the hill and took the win as he made his way through the women’s caravan. Thirteen seconds later, Morton crossed the line for second followed by Rodger.
All eyes on the clocks as the seconds were counting up. More riders crossed the finish line but still no yellow jersey. 47 seconds after Sweeting, Mancebo crossed the line, saving his yellow jersey.
Morton jumped up to second on GC, 42 seconds from Mancebo. Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) was third, 49 seconds down.
The Chipotle Development team claimed all the other jerseys: Howes won the KOM, Morton, the Best Young Rider and Robert Bush, the Sprint jersey.
Women Top 10 – Awbrey Butte Circuit Race
1.Anne Samplonius (NOW and Novartis For MS) 2:51:51
2.Janel Holcomb (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo)
3.Kaytee Boyd (BikeNZ) +01:02
4.Robin Farina (NOW and Novartis For MS) +01:48
5.Rushlee Buchanan (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) +02:17
6.Pascale Schnider (VanderKitten Focus)
7.Joelle Numainville (Team TIBCO/To the Top)
8.Erinne Willock (Team TIBCO/To the Top)
9.Clara Hughes (Cycling BC)
10.Jade Wilcoxson (NOW and Novartis For MS)
Men Top 10 – Awbrey Butte Circuit Race
1.Robert Sweeting (Kenda/5hr Energy p/b Geargrinder) 3:00:38
2.Lachlan Morton (Chipotle Development Team) +00:13
3.Shem Rodger (Pureblack Racing)
4.George Bennett (Trek-Livestrong)
5. Ian Boswell (Trek-Livestrong)
6.Danny Summerhill (Chipotle Development Team)
7.Frank Pipp (Bissell Pro Cycling) +00:42
8.Tom Zirbel (Jamis Sutter Home)
9.Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth)
10.Luis Romero Amaran (Jamis Sutter Home)
Women Top 10 Final GC
1.Janel Holcomb (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) 10:47:44
2.Anne Samplonius (NOW and Novartis For MS) +00:23
3.Clara Hughes (Cycling BC) +01:09
4. Erinne Willock (Team TIBCO/To the Top) +01:22
5. Kristin Mcgrath (Peanut Butter & Co.Twenty12) +01:28
6.Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Co.Twenty12) +01:29
7.Tara Whitten (Team TIBCO/To the Top) +01:37
8.Rushlee Buchanan (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) +02:16
9.Alison Shanks (BikeNZ) +02:38
10. Jade Wilcoxson (NOW and Novartis For MS) +02:43
Men Top 10 Final GC
1.Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.Com Pro Cycling) 10:42:00
2.Lachlan Morton (Chipotle Development Team) +00:42
3.Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Pro Cycling) +00:49
4.Luis Romero Amaran (Jamis Sutter Home) +00:55
5.Tom Zirbel (Jamis Sutter Home) +01:09
6.Chris Baldwin (Bissell Pro Cycling) +01:35
7.Ian Boswell (Trek-Livestrong) +01:43
8.Phil Gaimon (Kenda/5hr Energy p/b Geargrinder) +01:48
9.Carter Jones (Trek-Livestrong) +01:55
10.Glen Chadwick (Pureblack Racing)