The 2013 Cascade Cycling Classic stage race began tonight with the Prologue, which created a few surprises. The 109 rider women’s field began at 6 PM on the counter clockwise 2.5 mile circuit. The course featured a fast downhill start with less than 200 feet of elevation gain to the finish. Defending champ, Alison Powers, of NOW and Novartis for MS, was the last to start and delivered the fastest time of the day, being the only woman to go under 5 minutes. Her winning time of 4:53 was quite impressive and definitely let the rest of the women know that she is ready to defend her title. Shelley Olds, of Team TIBCO, put in a strong ride to place second. Laura Brown, of Team Colavita-Fine Cooking, rounded out the top three. The best young rider was another TIBCO rider, Jasmin Glaesser.
The men’s prologue began immediately after the conclusion of the woman’s race, and with 201 riders, there couldn’t be any delay. Robert Sweeting of 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda began 58th and set a scorching time of 4:28. Sweeting had to wait over an hour before the final ten riders were on the course. With the likes of Zirbel, of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, defending champ Mancebo, of 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda, and Philip Gimon of Bissel Pro Cycling, it was a long wait. However, these top riders couldn’t come close to the time that Sweeting posted. Timothy Rugg, of Kelly Benefit Strategies, started the prologue 8th and apparently didn’t fancy his chances for the podium because as he was running back down to the finish, putting his jersey back on saying, “I already went home!” Rugg took 2nd, while Sergei Tvetcov , of Jelly Belly p/b Kenda, put in a strong ride for 3rd place. Best young rider was Ty Magner, of Hincapie Sportswear. It was a strong performance for the 22 year old rider, as the men’s field is stacked with strong U23’s.
The Cascade Cycling Classic began with some impressive riding and a few surprises. Tomorrows stage promises to produce more great racing and more surprises.
– Travis Dixon