What's Cool In Road Cycling

Cascade Classic – Stage 1

– Reported by Ray Cipollini of Navigators –
Cascade Cycling Classic Stage Race – Stage 1

The U.S. National Racing Calendar (NRC) continued it’s hectic journey throughout the states in Bend OR with the Cascade Cycling Classic. The Cascade Cycling classic is the oldest running stage race in the US, and is possibly the most challenging multi day event in the United States. Although the recent Cascade editions have offered only a modest prize list, the top domestic pro teams have made it a must stop on their calendar, in fact, the last year Lance Armstrong did not win theTour de France, he was winning the Cascade Classic. The dramatic scenery, epic climbs, and variety
of courses, bring great drama to every edition.

Today’s (Wednesday) opening stage was a 103 mile point to pointbeginning in Bend, and traveling over the Mt Bachelor ski resort at 6500 ft, and returning to the Inn of the Seventh Mountain on the outskirts of Bend.The
opening 20-mile climb includes two KOM sprints, and presents a demanding challenge for any who had not been prepared for the quick start. With temperatures over 100* F, the added burden of keeping hydrated augmented the demands of a course that offered 4,600 ft of climbing.

Although the field started at a relatively slow pace, the attacks leading into the day’s first KOM at 14 miles quickly separated 8 riders. Continued attacks as the group approached the second KOM at 19miles would lead to a 23 rider break that sped down the back side of Mt Bachelor as the field seemed to resign and sit up. With Navigators, Mercury, Prime Alliance, and Saturn having more than 1/2 of their respective teams in the break, it appeared that the race would be decided in the lead group. But the lead group was large, and somewhat disorganized, and the field soon found
incentive to begin a pursuit. As dropped riders began to rejoin the main field, the pace started to increase, and along the beautiful Cascade Lakes Highway, the leaders were caught, and a counter attack sprung Mercury’s Henk Vogels, followed by Prime’s Svein Tuft and Saturn’s Chris Fisher. With just under half of the race completed, the three were soon in a steady
rhythm, and putting time on the field. The three leaders would reach a 5-minute gap by the 70-mile mark before the Navigators and Prime Alliance teams started to chase. With a 2000 ft climb ahead, the chase slowly
whittled the lead until the gap had dropped to under two minutes with day’s third KOM approaching. Prime abandoned the chase, and Navigators’ Tom Leaper was alone at the front, keeping the gap constant when Saturn’s Fisher was dropped from the lead group. As the dwindled field crested the Mt Bachelor climb, the gap was just over 1 minute, with a 15-mile descent
back into Bend. Navigators and Saturn kept the field alive by continually launching attacks. The speed of the contrived chase remained high and the leaders advantage was slipping away. At the line, Vogels edged Tuft, as Navigators’ Chris Baldwin well timed his jump in the last 500 meters to lead the field for third. Prime Alliance’s Mike Creed took the lead in the KOM competition.

Tomorrow’s (Thursday) stage should have a dramatic effect on GC as the course features 7000ft of climbing including the switchback assent of McKenzie pass and the 2800 ft finishing climb to middle sister.

In other racing action this week, Vassili Davidenko added another victory to his tally with a win in the 1st annual Tour of Maplewood, NJ. A solo attack with 8 laps remaining in the 70-minute event ensured the victory for Vassili. Roosevelt Martes (Gap) and Sebastian Alexandre (Team Colavita) followed in 2nd and 3rd. This race is sure to become a NJ classic.

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