Cascade Cycling Classic Preview

Jul 19, 2011 by

Scenic Central Oregon will set the backdrop once again for the 32nd Cascade Cycling Classic this week in Bend. Racing starts tonight with a prologue time trial and concludes Sunday. ©Pat Malach/FILE PHOTO

BEND — The 32nd annual Cascade Cycling Classic is set to roll out of Bend tonight with the two-mile prologue time trial, a mad dash through the Central Oregon hub’s Old Mill shopping district. America’s longest running stage race, a staple of USA Cycling’s National Race Calendar, will test this country’s top riders over five more stages, concluding Sunday with the infamous Awbrey Butte Circuit Race.

Fields have been overflowing for the 32nd running of Cascade. The Pro men’s field boasts well over 200 riders, and the Pro women will have more than 110 competitors on the roads. The amateur OBRA races are also reaching capacity. (Registration for the OBRA races closes Wednesday at noon). A rare summertime storm system has also settled over the high desert, presenting some unusual conditions for the 2011 edition of this normally hot, dry event.

Francisco Mancebo, right, finished second overall behind teammate Oscar Sevilla in 2009. ©Pat Malach/FILE PHOTO

RIDERS

Although 2010 winner Rory Sutherland (United Healthcare) won’t be racing this year, NRC leader Francisco Mancebo, riding for the Real Cyclist.com team, heads the jam-packed men’s field. The former Spanish national champion has been close to untouchable in the hills this year, and Cascade has plenty of those. Mancebo finished second to Rock Racing teammate Oscar Sevilla in 2009, the only time he has raced Cascade.

Mancebo will be watched closely by the cream of the crop on America’s domestic pro circuit. Bissel Pro Cycling Team is bringing a strong stage racing team, along with Jamis Sutter Home, Kelly Benefit Strategies, Kenda/5 Hour Energy, Team Exergy, V Australia and Pure Black Racing. Also of interest, cyclocross star Tim Johnson (TJ’s Summer Job/Cannondale CX) will be making his first NRC appearance since giving up his road race job last year. LST Felt’s Ryan Trebon will also be on hand to get some road miles in before cyclocross season starts.

Cyclocross star Tim Johnson, left, will make a rare 2011 road appearance at Cascade. He'll be joined by 2004 winner Mike Creed. ©Pat Malach/FILE PHOTO

Oregon U23 riders Jacob Rathe (Chipotle development Team) and Ian Boswell (Trek-Livestrong) add further excitement for the local fans. Josh Berry, a fixture in last year’s Oregon cyclocross scene, will be riding for Mancebo’s squad. New Zealand’s Pure Black racing will be bringing former OBRA riders Roman Van Uden and Mike Northey to Bend. Team Oregon is sending Eli Romer, Andrew Boone, Scott Gray and guest rider Stephen Mull. Kennett Peterson will be riding for (Hagens Berman) fresh off his second-place finish at the Tour of White Rock in Canada. Brad Winn (Team S&M) will also be flying the Oregon flag in the Pro men’s peloton.

Despite the absence of 2010 winner Mara Abbott, the women’s peloton includes a stacked field of top pro teams and some of the nation’s best elite amateurs. Mt. Hood winner Kristin Armstrong will return to Oregon with her Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty-12 team. Look for Armstrong’s young teammate Coryn Rivera in Saturday’s criterium.

Mt. Hood runner up Clara Hughes will be on hand with the Cycling BC team to renew her battle with Armstrong. The Olympic medalists will have to contend with top pro teams like NRC leading Colavita-Forno D’Asolo, Tibco-To The Top, Webcor Builders, Now-Novartis for MS, Team Kenda/Gear Grinder and Primal/Map My Ride,

Southern Oregon’s Jade Wilcoxson will be riding for the first time with pro team NOW and Novartis for MS after finishing sixth overall recently at the NRC Tour de Toona. She’ll be joined on the squad by Hilary Billington of Portland. Kelly Benjamin will be on hand for Colavita/Forno d’Asolo. Sue Butler will be guest riding for Bend’s BMC Total Care team, which has formed an Oregon all-star composite squad for the race that includes Amy Campbell, Lindsay Fox, Anne Davis Usher, Anona Whitley, Brenna Lopez-Otero and Elizabeth Newell.

Canadian Clara Hughes will get another crack at an NRC stage race win this week at Cascade. ©Pat Malach/FILE PHOTO

STAGES

PROLOGUE: Wells Fargo Prologue Time Trial
This two-mile opening test through Bend’s Old Mill District will set the pecking order for Wednesday’s climb over McKenzie Pass on stage 1. Last year’s winners Jesse Sergent (Trek-Livestrong) and Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) covered the course in 3:35.79 and 3:53.47, respectively.

STAGE 1: Les Schwab Mckenzie Pass Road Race
Introduced back into the stage race last year, the 73.5-mile McKenzie Pass route is a classic climber’s course that starts on the Santiam Pass before heading up and over McKenzie and on through Sisters for a summit finish at Three Creeks Snow Park. Marc DeMaar (United Healthcare) won last year’s stage in 2:58:50. Catherine Cheatley (Colavita/Baci Pro) won the women’s stage in 3:26:55, just two seconds ahead of eventual overall winner Abbott.

STAGE 2: Hutch’s Bicycles Time Trial
The 14-mile out-and-back Skyliner’s time trial returns for another run in 2011. With staging at Summitt High School, the course climbs steadily for seven miles before riders turn around and fly back toward the finish. Fly V Australia’s Ben Day won last year’s stage for the men, covering the course in 31:28.4. Erinne Willock (Webcor Builders) was the fastest woman at 35:56.59.

STAGE 3: Pacific Power Cascade Lakes Road Race
Another classic climber’s stage has riders finishing beneath the ski slopes of Mt. Bachelor after circling around the mountain once. The stage starts at Summit High School for the men and Wanoga Snow Park for Pro Women. Holowesko Partners’ Raymond Kreder won last year’s 84-mile stage, which was marred by a horrific crash in the closing meters. The U23 rider covered the course in 3:15:35. Abbott won the women’s 71-mile stage in 3:00:26.

Roman Van Uden hits the final stretch of the Skyliners Time Trial with the Cascade range visible in the background. ©Pat Malach/FILE PHOTO

STAGE 4: Desert Orthopedics & Rebound Physical Therapy Twilight Downtown Criterium
Bend shows up to party for the Saturday evening twilight criteriums. The rectangular course has one tricky end where the road narrows from two lanes to one, but for the most part it’s pretty straightforward and super fast. Fly V Australia’s David Tanner won the stage last year in front of a huge, rowdy crowd. Joanne Kiesanowski (Team Tibco) won the women’s stage.

STAGE 5: Deschutes Brewery Awbrey Butte Road Race
The Awbrey Butte Road Race has shaped many an overall race. A staple of the Cascade Classic, it has also been used for multiple national championship races. The roughly 16-mile circuit touches the edge of Bend’s tony Awbrey Buttle neighborhood before cruising through Shevlin Park and out into the high desert hills. The course features two significant climbs, including the lung and leg busting ascent of Archie Briggs road. Alex Dowsett (Trek-Livestrong) won last year’s men’s stage, while Tara Whitten (Keller Rohrback) got the women’s win.

NRC Standings

Men
1. Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.com) — 575
2. Jacobe Keough (UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling) — 523
3. Jonathan Cantwell (Team Fly V) — 460
4. Frank Pipp (Bissell Pro Cycling) — 430
5. Carlos Alzate Escobar (Team Exergy) — 360

Men’s Team
1. Bissell Pro Cycling — 1,817
2. UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling — 1,715
3. Jamis-Sutter Home —1,195
4. Team Exergy — 1,073
5. PureBlack Racing —809

Women
1. Amber Neben (HTC-Highroad Women) — 536
2. Janel Holcomb (Colavita-Forno d’Asolo) —482
3. Erinne Willock (Team TIBCO-To the Top) — 355
4. Leah Kirchamnn (Colavita-Forno-d’Asolo) — 325
5. Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) — 315

Women’s Team
1. Colavita-Forno d’Asolo — 2,449
2. Team TIBCO-To the Top — 1,673
3. HTC-Highroad Women — 1,260
4. Diadora Pasta Zara — 462
5. Primal/MapMyRider Women’s Racing — 332

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