2014 Tour of the Gila: Stage 5 Gila Monster

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The men face 100 miles and over 9,000 feet of climbing. It’s said to be the toughest stage in the US with the riders facing climbs taking them over 7,000 feet in elevation. The course features two cat 3, two cat 2, and one cat 1 climb. It’s a brutal final day of racing and after 5 days of tough racing, you either have it or you don’t. and with the The women face 68.9 miles and over 5000 feet of climbing. Their course will be the reverse of stage two climbing the steep and narrow cat 2 Sapillo climb and ending with the short but steep cat 3 climb to Pinos Altos. The stage finish is in the town of Pinos Altos ending in front of the historic Buckhorn saloon. It’s a classic southwestern scene, a throwback to days long ago. The contrast of modern cycling seems to fit, it’s the Gila, and theres no better finish.

The men’s race began with a long neutral, but once the flag dropped, as has been the case all week, the attacks began right away. With a GC being tight, the teams seemed quite eager to set their tactics up early on this stage. Three riders managed a small gap with the group quickly forming off the front of the peloton. The two groups reorganized to contain 15 riders. Tom Zirbel of Optum was on the front of this group driving it hard and the gap quickly grew to 30 seconds. With this large of a group working well together chances were that this was the move of the day.

The group contained Jeff Louder of United HealthCare, three riders from 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda Racing – Jeff Hornbeck, Taylor Shelden, and Chad Beyer, three rider from Hincapie Sportswear – Joseph Schmalz, Tyler Magner, Joseph Lewis, Jamis -Hagens Berman rider Luis Amaran, two riders from Optum – Tom Zirbel, and will Routley, two riders from Jelly Belly – Luis DeVila, a Serghei Tvetcov, two riders from Team SmartStop – Cameron Cogburn, Michael Torckler, and one rider from Marc Pro Strava, Gonzalez Rolando.

Indeed, with all the teams represented, this was the move of the day. The riders descended down to the Mimbres valley at 50+mph and once in the valley there was a steady rotation but when Zirbel came to the front he strung the group out with long pulls, and with Routley sitting on, they were in a good position. The gap extended to and remained around 2-2:30 through the valley. United HelathCare seemed content with that time gap. As the break hit the Cat 2 climb up to Anderson Vista they had 2:30, by the top it was down to 55 seconds. The descent down to the turn around is fast and very technical which favored the break and their gap extended back out to 1:20.

As the break began the Cat one climb it was Louder, who was dropped fairly quickly, Hornbeck and Beyer of 5Hour, Schmalz of Hincapie, Amaran of Jamis, Tvetcov of Jelly Belly, Routley of Optum, and Torckler of SmartStop. From behind Brenes, Jarmillo, and Cooke from Jamis, Kirk Carlson of Jelly Belly, Rob Britton, Flavia DeLuna of SmartStop, and Carter Jones of Optum broke from the peloton and caught the break at the top of the climb.

Jamis was also playing out some good tactics today. They remained patient and waited for the climbs to begin to then get to work. Unfortunately for them, Jones had caught this train and was able to rely on a relatively rested Routley. Ben Day had succumbed to The Monster and was not going to be able to keep his jersey.

The lead group descended to start the Sapillo where Optum director, Jonas Carney, had this to say, “I think this is one of our best days. We rode really strong and our tactics played out perfectly. Zirbel was on the front for 100 k just killing it for this result. Routley was super strong and then Carter as able to finish it off … It was a great day for us.”

The race came down to a sprint with Jaramillo taking the win followed by Britton and Routley. GC went to Jones with Greg Brenes of Jamis, and Rob Briton of SmartStep rounding out the podium. It was an aggressive day of racing from Optum, and it paid off with the win. Next Optum is off to The Tour of California after perfect preparation from The Gila.

A with the men, the women began aggressively with attacks from the gun. The only chance the riders had to dismantle Abbott was to get up the road early and isolate her from the very strong and dedicated United team,

United had to work hard to control the race and it remained together until they dropped down to the Mimbres valley. Alison Tetrick of Twenty16 Pro Cycling made a attack which prompted Emmermanof Rally Sport, Fischer of DNA Cycling, Sanders of FCS/Zngine, Vargas of the Columbian National Team,Kiesanowski of TIBCO, Laws of United, and Johnson of SCCA/Starbucks to join and make e decisive attack of the day. The break worked well together and steadily built a gap of 1:25. Twenty16 controlled the pace of the peloton, working for their teammate, Tetrick who was in the break.

As the race hit the Sapillo, the break continued to ride hard but behind the fireworks were beginning. Abbott of United, Oliviera of FCS/Zngine, Mickey of Twenty16, and Wilborne of TIBCO joined the break and continued on with Laws. Abbot to attacked near the summit of the Cat 2 climb of the Sapillo and continued solo. Once free, Abbott rode strongly opening up a gap of 2:45 with Oliviera and Mickey working to chase but today they were not going to catch the inspired Abbott.

Abbott crossed the line to take her fourth consecutive win. She enjoyed her win as she crossed the line alone. Oliviera took second from best young rider Mickey. Abbott put on a fine riding display today and the race was animated by a field that didn’t want to sit back for the inevitable. The results may not reflect it, but women’s cycling is consistently growing in every aspect, and they put on a great show this week.

 

2014 Tour of the Gila: Stage 4 Crit

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Stage 4 downtown silver city criterium

The criterium is run on a rectangular 1.08 mile course,mthat on paper looks pretty straight forward, but you are quickly reminded, once again, that The Gila doesn’t like flat roads. There are two hills on the backside along with a road that is inconsistent in regards to surface quality. The road rises to turn three which leads to the very fast turn four and the start/finish straight. Its a day that sees fast racing but rarely sees changes in the GC. However, if you haven’t recovered from the first three stages, it can be a long race for sure.

The women lined up at 3 o’clock with Abbott looking comfortable in her red Gila leaders jersey. From the gun the pace was fast with United HealthCare and TIBCO taking turns to control the peloton. With 15 laps to go a strong move finally broke clear, with Alison Powers of United HealthCare, Carmen Small of DNA Cycling p/b K4, Joanne Kiesanowski of TIBCO, and Jessica Cerra of FCS/Zngine p/b Mr. Restore. The big teams were represented and it seemed that this move had a chance, but it was still a long way to go. The gap remained around 15-20 seconds for many laps, with Twenty16 Pro Cycling doing the chasing. Once the break hit 30 seconds it was becoming clear that Twenty16 Pro Cycling just didn’t have the horsepower today to bring the foursome back. During the last five laps there were many attacks from the peloton, but nothing stuck. On the last lap, Powers made what turned out to be the perfect move, and soloed to take the win. Small took second over Kiesanowski. Powers showed the field why she is the current criterium national champ today.

The men lined up at 4:15, with 25 year old Carter Jones of Optum, enjoying his first day in the leaders jersey. As has been the case with every race so far, the riders went full gas from the gun. Within the first 5 laps a group of 8 went free, quickly whittled down to 4, but with McCabe of SmartStop in the move the riders weren’t comfortable. The lack of cohesiveness meant that the break was reabsorbed. It took several laps for the right combination of riders to break free. The pace remained incredibly high until suddenly 11 riders went clear with most of the teams represented, It looked good, but one lap later that group of 11 was down to 4. The remaining 7 were blown all over the course. The four who made the break were Ben Day of United HealthCare, Luis Amaran of Jamis-Hagens Berman, Bjorn Selander of Optum p/b Kelly Benefits, and Zachary Bell of Team SmartStop. These four put their heads down and quickly started building a gap.

Brecht Dhaene of Astellas Cycling Team was on the sidelines supporting his team. His right arm was in a sling, fresh from surgery that morning, to repair his shattered collarbone. Dhaene was involved in the stage 1 crash and said, “I won the Winston Salem crit last month and was really focusing on this crit so it’s too bad I crashed.” When asked if he thought this break would stick, he said, “They look very committed, I think so!” Dhaene was right, in fact the foursome lapped the field.

Once the field was lapped, the race, in essence, resets and the respective teams work for their break riders. The rest of the race was very controlled as they teams didn’t want anyone else up the road to complicate the tactics. The last two laps were hectic as the teams worked to control, and set up their riders, but it was Jamis who was able to set up Amaran for the win. Selander of Optum came in second with Ben Day of United taking third.

The GC saw another leader with Ben Day taking the leaders jersey heading into tomorrow’s Gila Monster stage 5. On a day when GC placings are rarely affected, The Gila created quite a day of racing. It will be a pretty big ask for Day to hold onto the jersey, and the tactics will be very interesting to see play out tomorrow. Abbott looks solid in her lead but tomorrow is a big day, and you never know what can happen out on the open roads.

2014 Tour of the Gila: Stage 3 Dan Potts Memorial Tyrone TT

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The UCI men started at 9:15 to tackle the challenging individual time trial. It’s an out and back course that begins with a Cat 4 climb and on the return leg features a Cat 3 climb. It’s not your typical ITT course but fortunately the riders didn’t have to contend with the wind that has been the norm over the last few years.

Times were fast and tightly packed together from the first riders, but everyone was waiting for the time of national TT champ, Tom Zirbel of Optum, and he delivered. Best times up to that point were in the mid 36 min range but Zirbel came in with 34:21, blowing the race apart. That seemed to be the benchmark that wouldn’t be matched but Serghei Tvetchov of Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, came in with a time of 34:02 and no one challenged his time. Joseph Rosskopf of Hincapie Sportswear Development Team, finished 3rd with a time if 35:12.

The men’s GC underwent a shuffling as Carter Jones of Optum took the leaders jersey after a solid TT performance. “Yeah, the team is very happy and ready to defend the jersey. Tomorrow we need to stay out of trouble and get ready for Sunday. I feel good but there’s no hiding on the Gila Monster.” With the GC being so tight, Sundays stage should be very interesting.

The women started next and conditions remained calm for their TT. The women’s field had been controlled by United HealthCare over the the last two days but today the rest of the field would be free to try to shake things up. Laura Brown of Colavita came in with a blazing time of 39:25. Lauren Stephens of TIBCO, who had won the Redlands TT earlier in the season, came in with a fast time of 39:29. It was another strong performance from Stephens, who was very happy after the race, “Last August I was able to go full time racing. It’s made a big difference. I said after Redlands that it was the best ride I’d ever had, but today was even better.” Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was Mara Abbott’s 3rd place ride, with a time of 39:30.

Tomorrow is the downtown crit ,which is always an exciting event, but truly the men and women will be working on recovery, to get ready for Sundays stage. The women will have a difficult time overtaking Abbott, due to her climbing prowess, but these are racers and they won’t go down without a fight. The men’s race is still wide open and it may come down to who has the freshest legs on the day.

The Tour of the Gila Stage 2 – The Inner Loop

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The Tour of the Gila Stage 2 – The Inner Loop

The UCI men faced the challenging 76 miles of The Inner Loop. While today’s stage was shorter than Stage 1, there’s more climbing and very demanding descending. The topo details three cat 3 climbs, but the road is never flat so that the riders will total 5781 feet of climbing by the end of the stage.

The UCI men were the first to hit the road today. Their field was noticeably smaller than it was at the start of stage 1 but the riders were eager to race as the officials had difficulty keeping the speed down through the neutral zone. Once the flag dropped, the attacks began immediately. The first bonus sprint is 5.7 miles into the stage and teams had to fight to control and play out tactics for the sprint.

The sprint ended up going to Joseph Lewis of Hincapie Sportswear Development Team, with Steve Fisher of Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, and Daniel Summerhill of United HealthCare Pro Cycling rounding out the top three. Immediately following this sprint is the Cat 3 climb up to Pinos Altos, a tough way to start a stage. The peloton stayed together controlling the attacks on the climb until 1 km to the KOM with Luis Enrique Davila of Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, followed by Daniel Summerhill of United HealthCare, and Taylor Sheldon of 5 Hour Racing p/b Kenda. These three didn’t stop and drove hard into the short technical decent. The constant pressure from the peloton saw numerous riders abandon, obviously feeling the effects from yesterdays stage.

The course changed at this point with the riders facing narrow and very twisty roads, another Cat 3 climb followed by the very fast and technical descent off Wildhorse Mesa. The break worked hard and kept extending their lead over the peloton. As they reached the Mimbres Valley their lead was 4:30. The valley continues to be roads that favor a break but their gap never grew much more than this as Tyler Wren of Jamis-Hagens Berman explained after the stage, “We knew Summerhill was the danger man in the break but our goal was to control the gap and keep our leaders safe and give them as easy of a ride as we could give them today”.

Second sprint went to Summerhill, with Davila and Sheldon taking second and third respectfully. After the sprint the peloton started to chase so the gap steadily fell to around 2 mins by the start of the Cat 3 climb. 1 km from the KOM sprint, Davila attacked and held on to take the KOM over Summerhill and Sheldon but from the peloton two riders attacked. Adam De Vos of Team H&R Block and Stephano Barberi of California Giant/Specialized bridged the now 35 second gap to the leaders making it a break of 5. With under 10 miles to go the break put their heads down and drove the pace hard. They made it to the 3 km sign at which time there was constant changing of teams on the front all trying to set up their riders from the sprint.

Nicolai Brochner of Bissel Development Team took the sprint for with Eric Young of Optum p/b Kelly Benefits and Travis McCabe of Team SmartStop rounding out the top three. It was a hectic finale as Joseph Schmaltz of Hincapie Sportswear Development Team stated, “We tried to get to the front for our guys, but it got messy. Ty (Magner) ended up 5th I think. So, we got organized but it just didn’t go all according to plan.”

Tomorrow is the Time Trial and the riders were eager to get back and prepare for this challenging day.

The Pro Women faced 75 miles on the Inner Loop Course. As with the men, the women’s race started fast with team Twenty16 driving the pace to set up Ali Tetrick for the first sprint. The racing was hectic with Carmen Small of DNA Cycling p/b K4 taking the sprint with Jessica Cerra of FCS/Zngine p/b Mr Restore taking second, followed by Tetrick.

United HealthCare assumed control of the race at this point driving the pace up the Cat 3 climb to Pinos Altos. The QOM went to Flavia Oliviera of FCS/Zngine p/b Mr Restore, followed by Annie Toth of Sisterhood of Cycling, and Sharon Laws of United HealthCare. United continued to control the group as they came to the second QOM, won again by Oliviera followed by Laws and Alison Powers of United HealthCare.

The race was controlled by United and their pace had the women struggling to maintain contact. Any attack that was attempted was short lived. It was obvious that United had a plan for the day and that was to put a stranglehold on the race. Rain and a strong cross wind on the final stretches of the race didn’t make life any easier for the women’s field. The final QOM saw Oliviera take more points with Laws of United and Glaessner of TIBCO rounding out the top 3.

The rest of the stage saw aggressive and fast paced racing with constant attacks but nothing was able to stick. With 1km to go United and TIBCO were on the front but Carmen Small of DNA Cycling p/b K4 took the win. Joanne Kiesnowski and Lauren Stephens, both of TIBCO, rounded out the podium.

It was a hard day of racing for the women. Mara Abbot of United HealthCare held onto the leaders jersey but she will have her hands full for the time trial tomorrow. It should be another interesting day of racing for sure.

UCI Men Results

Top 3 on Stage 2

Nicolai Brochner (BDT)
Eric Young (OPM)
Travis McCabe (TSS)
Town of Silver City Leader’s Jersey: Daniel Jaramillo (JSH)

PNM Sprinter Leader Jersey: Nicolai Brochner (BDT)

Freeport-McMoRayn King of the Mountain Jersey: Daniel Jaramillo (JSH)

Southwest Bone & Joint Institute Best Young Rider: Nicolai Brochner (BDT)

Full Results:

http://www.tourofthegila.com/bissell-development-team-wins-field-sprint/


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2014 Tour of the Gila: Stage 1

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The 28th annual Tour of The Gila began today. The race started in downtown Silver City with the neutral roll out including a climb to get the legs ready for the day. The UCI men raced 92 miles on a challenging course, finishing on the Cat 1 Mogollon climb. It’s a narrow steep climb ending on a day of exposed roads and rolling/climbing terrain.

Once the flag dropped the attacks began right away. Yannick Eckmann of California Giant/Specialized was particularly active getting into several early attacks but the peloton was not willing to let anything go. The speeds were high, making it very difficult to get away. However, The UCI men ride two circuits through the town of Cliff and these roads can create opportunities for riders to get away. As the race turned onto the small secondary roads, they were greeted by the elementary school kids who come out every year, cheering with their cowbells. This seemed to charge the riders, as hard and frequent attacks began. Optum decided enough was enough and began to drive the pace. The peloton remained together, as it joined the main road again.

The second circuit through Cliff was again quite active and a group of 4 got away, containing Connor McCutcheon of Airgas Cycling, Steve Fischer of Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, Coulton Hartrich of Marc Pro-Strav, and Max Korus of Astellas Cycling Team. They took advantage of the hilly narrow roads and committed themselves to the break. The peloton seemed to hesitate and that was all the four needed, as their gap steadily increased to 4 minutes as they hit the main road again.

The break riders rotated through consistently and with a healthy tailwind, their gap grew to 10 minutes by mile 67. At this point 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda Pro Cycling, and UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling assumed the front and set, what race radio called, ‘a hard tempo’. At 33 plus mph this was quite an understatement and the breaks gap consistently dropped from this point on. Unfortunately, the race took a turn for the worse, perhaps the effects of such a strong pace for many many miles and the resultant fatigue were the cause … The reasons aren’t clear but the crash that occurred was devastating.

The crash occurred roughly around mile 75 with the gap around 8 minutes. Approximately, 20 riders remained together with small groups chasing and ultimately building the ‘peloton’ back up to 40-plus riders. The race was in a state of chaos as medical personnel and team cars all focused on the downed riders.

As the break of 4 took the right hand turn for the Cat 1 Mogollon climb they had to know that their gap wasn’t enough, but they continued to ride fully committed to the break. As the peloton made the turn the gap was down to 2:35. Race radio was still in a state of chaos as the crash was justifiably spreading personnel across the course, but Jamis-Hagen Berman seemed to be the team that came though relatively unscathed with the most riders represented in the front group.

Max Korus of Astellas, was almost immediately dropped as the first part of the Mogollon began. The remaining 3 rode well to reach the plateau with a gap of 1:20. Jamis-Hagens Berman team got to the front as they reached the plateau and drove the pace to 28 mph. The break was caught for the final steep pitches of the Mogollon. Matt Cooke of Jamis-Hagen Berman took off and immediately got a gap. He had the numbers behind to help protect his attack so the move seemed like it could stick. The peloton went through a process of elimination as the pace remained high and riders were popped off the back. Cooke seemed to have the win but with 30 meters to go, teammate Daniel Jaramillo, overtook Cooke for the win. Gregory Obando Brenes of Jamis-Hagen Berman took third to make it a sweep for the team. The rest of riders crossed the line looking utterly cracked from the intense day.

Th finish area took on a distinctly different feel for what is typical. There weren’t hoots of congratulations but rather subdued racers who appeared to be thinking of their teammates and friends who were involved in the crash. Kirk Carlson of Jelly Belly had this to say, “I was right behind the crash but just barely made it through. It was one of the most devastating crashes I’ve ever seen”.

In a sport where a thin layer of Lycra protects you from the road, racers are said to be a tough breed, as seasoned photographer Casey Gibson stated, “Unless there’s a bone sticking out, racers are gonna get back on their bikes and ride.” With so few riders crossing the line along along with the quiet atmosphere of the finish area, it spoke to the significance of this crash.

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Optum Men’s team clinch NRC overall

Optum Men's team clinch NRC overall

Optum Men’s team clinch NRC overall

OptimHaga 3rd, Numvainville 4th in individual standings

September 10th | Minneapolis, MN

With a full calendar of road racing coming to a close, the Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefits Strategies men’s team took the top spot on USA Cycling’s National Race Calendar (NRC) series, a longstanding measurement of success on the US circuit. Powered by strong individual performances during the NRC calendar year from Chad Haga (3rd overall, individual standings), Jesse Anthony (7th overall, individual standings), Tom Zirbel (8th overall, individual standings), and Mike Friedman (12th overall, individual standings), the men were able to finish the NRC calendar with a commanding lead in the team standings.

 

The Orange and Black outdistanced Team Jamis – Hagens Berman by nearly 600 points, with a final tally of 1738 points to 1186 points after the series’ final race, the Bucks County Classic in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

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Joelle Numainville wins stage 4 of Tour de l’Ardeche

 

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oelle Numainville wins stage 4 of Tour de l’Ardeche

Joelle Numainville wins stage 4 of Tour de l’Ardeche

 

September 6th | Minneapolis, MN

 

Lauren Hall second, Numainville follows up with 3rd in stage five.

 

The Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefits Strategies women began the Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l’Ardeche with the intention of building form for next months Team Time Trial World Championships in Tuscany, Italy and hunting for wins in the process. They showed the world that their form is securely in place when Canadian road race champion Joelle Numainville took a hard fought victory in stage four, with teammate and leadout Lauren Hall finishing second.

 

Numainville and her teammates targeted the difficult 111 km. stage from Le Pouzin to Cruas for the sprint finish. Featuring three major climbs and undulating terrain until the final 10 km. run in to the finish, the stage created substantial difficulty for the peloton. Numainville and her teammates showed that their fitness and teamwork is on par with Europe’s best.

 

“The team rode exceptionally well today: despite a hard tempo being set by the race leaders BePink team, which whittled down the bunch significantly, we were in a great position with Joelle, Leah, Lauren and Denise all making it over the climbs,” said Performance Director Rachel Heal. “With a strong lead group of 40 or so riders coming in towards the final few kilometers, it was clear the winner would come from that group. The team timed the lead-out perfectly for Joelle, and lead through the final turn at 600 meters to go, and closed strong to take the 1-2 finish.”

 

Unfortunately, Jade Wilcoxson was taken down in a crash just three kilometers into the race as riders fought for position heading into the intermediate sprint and first climb of the day. Fortunately, she didn’t sustain any major injuries, was able to climb back on her bike and finish the stage, and will continue to race.

 

More Success for Canadian road race champion in Stage Five.

 

Hoping to build off their success in stage four, the ladies of the Orange and Black approached the queen stage, a 118 km. trip from Saint Sauveur de Montagut to Villeneuve de Berg, with added confidence.

 

“On stage five, we came agonizingly close to another stage win,” said Heal. “With the peloton reduced to roughly 30 riders after the first major climb and Joelle, Denise, and Lauren making the split, we were one of only a few teams with 3 riders in the front group.”

 

Over the next two climbs the front group was whittled down further, and on the final descent, two riders attacked and the group split apart. Numainville, Ramsden, and Hall chase hard and bridged a sizable gap, but unfortunately the two riders stayed away from the hard chase. Numainville took the bunch kick for third.

 

Following the conclusion of the Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l’Ardeche, the ladies head to the Giro della Toscana, a five day stage race in Tuscany very close to the World Championship venue, as they continue their preparation for the world championship.

 

Recap- Awbry Butte Circuit Race-Tvetcov and McGrath win Cascade Cycling Classic Overall Classification.

Stage 5 Cascade Cycling Classic

Stage 5 Cascade Cycling Classic

Stage 5 – Awbry Butte Circuit Race.

Tvetcov and McGrath win Cascade Cycling Classic Overall Classification.
The circuit race is another long standing course for Cascade. It’s a challenging circuit with the main features being the climb out of Tumalo Park and the climb of Archie Briggs. The first climb is a main road climb leading to the feed zone and a long false flat leading to Archie Briggs. This climb begins with a fast twisting descent into a 15% wall followed by more false flat and kicking up to the final stair step KOM summit.  The rest of the course is undulating with fast descents and exposed sections. A well balanced course which comes at the end of an aggressive week of racing.
The men’s race began at 1 PM and as has been the case with every race so far, once the flag dropped at the end of e neutral zone, the attacks began. Immediately, the 150 man field was strung out as it serpentined across the road.  Small groups would escape only to be brought back. This  pattern continued past the first climb of Tumalo Park. The field stayed together but was single file over the top. The attacks continued with 5 Hour particularly active today. Once the over Archie Briggs a group of 20 was able to get away but this too was pulled back. The peloton, which was being lead primarily by Jelly Belly riding for yellow jersey wearer Tvetcov, was not going to let anything go unless it had the right combination of riders.
Coming into the Tumalo Park climb on lap 2, a group of 12 had managed to get off the front.  This group had 25 seconds over the top of the climb and quickly increased to 55 seconds entering Archie Briggs. The group was working well together with no one sitting on.  Flavio Deluna of SmartStop- Mountain Khakis took the KOM and the break had increased their gap to 1:15 over the peloton. The break was well represented with single riders from Bissell, Optum, Giant, Bontrager, BMC, Jelly Belly, 5 Hour, SmartStop, Hincapie, Astellas Oncology, and 2 Hagens Berman riders.
Lap 3 saw this gap increase to its largest gap of 1:45 as they crested the Tumalo Park climb. Deluna again took KOM over the Archie Briggs climb with the breaks gap at 1:15. Jelly Belly were controlling the break and riding strongly on the front. It seemed that the race was shaping up for a fast finale.
As lap 4 began, the gap was down to 1:05 and would drop to 40 seconds only to increase again to 1:10. Clearly the two groups were figuring out their tactics for the final phase of the race. As lap 5 began the peloton had swallowed up the break but two riders attacked and established a small gap. Eric Marcotte of Elbowz Racing p/b Boneshaker and James Oram of Bontrager Cycling held onto a tenuous 15 second gap all the way to the Archie Briggs climb. It was a strong move but just too much to ask with this motivated field behind. The race was all together leading into the fast final 5 km. Four riders managed to get a small gap leading into the final 500 meters of the race with Rosskopf of Hincapie Sportswear taking the spring with teammate Clark taking second and Mancebo of 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda taking third.
It proved to be an important sprint win for Rosskopf. With the time bonuses available on the stage he jumped to 2nd overall.  Tvetcov of Jelly Belly p/b  Kenda took the overall honors with Chad Haga of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies hanging onto 3rd
The women faced 3 laps and 51 miles of the Deschutes Brewery – Awbry Butte Circuit Race. With a more established GC, the race was really going to have to some fireworks to shake up the final. The women’s race was run at an aggressive pace as was evidenced by the continual number of riders shed off the back.  A motivated Team Exergy Twenty 16 did a very good job of controlling the race for their yellow jersey wearer McGrath.
The stage came down to two riders with Amanda Miller of Team TIBCO taking the days honors with Jade Wilcoxson of Optum p/b Kelly Benefits taking second. Lauren Rauck Komanski of NOM and Novartis for MS came in a minute later and took the sprint for 3rd.  McGrath came is few seconds off of  Haeusler of Team TIBCO but remained safely in yellow to take the final GC. Haeusler remained in 2nd overall with Abbott of TIBCO rounding out the podium.
The 2013 Cascade Cycling Classic produced some aggressive and tactical racing.  The women’s race saw an aggressive Team TIBCO race hard from the start and establish the hierarchy that would see McGrath take a well deserved win.  The men’s field was tightly contested with all the teams riding hard right to the final sprint.  At times it appeared to be a battle between the old and new guard with the final result being some fantastic racing.
The race is obviously embraced by the Bend community. The race organization and number of volunteers was impressive to say the least. It’s an incredible event that should remain in high standing on the NRC calendar or years to come.
-Travis Dixon

Magner,Hall Win Downtown Twilight Criterium

Twilight Crit Cascade

Twilight Crit Cascade

Stage 4, Bend Downtown Twilight Criterium took place Saturday July 20th. The men and women were able to enjoy a late start time to give their legs some needed recovery from the tough 4 days of racing they’ve experienced so far.  The rectangular course is a straight forward design. The only real ‘obstacle’ being turns 3 and 4 where the road narrows making positioning onto the long final straight important.  Essentially this translates into an extremely fast course.  The long finishing straight to the line puts an emphasis on teamwork and a solid lead out. Added to this was a headwind meaning that the winner would have to time their sprint perfectly.

The women were first to start. As has been e case throughout Cascade, the pace was high right from the gun. There were many attacks but apparently none had the right combination of teams represented or horsepower as the field remained together and strung out for the entire race.
As the riders began the final lap team NOW and Novartis for MS took charge at the front with three riders stringing out the remaining peloton.  The sprint was incredibly close and came down to a photo finish with Lauren Hall of team Optum p/b Kelly Benefits taking the win by the narrowest of margins. 2nd went to Shelley Olds of Team TIBCO with Allison Powersnof NOW and Novartis for MS rounding out the top three.  The GC remained unchanged with McGrath of Exergy Twenty 16 in yellow followed by Haeusler of Team TIBCO and Abbott of Exergy Twenty 16 in 3rd.
The men began at 7 PM but the temperatures remained high with many riders packing ice into their skinsuits in an attempt to keep their core temperature down before the fireworks began for the 75 minute race.  The men’s field had been reduced to 150 riders from the original 200 and the field would be much less than this by the finish.
The men’s race was full-on right from the gun. The 150 man field was single file for the first 20 minutes with many laps averaging over 32 mph. As the field began to show signs of strain under the unrelenting pace a group of 5 riders managed to get a gap.  This front group fluctuated in numbers from 5 to 3 to 8 and always hovering around 10 seconds. Team Jelly Belly and Team Cash Call kept the move in check. The break was finally reeled in at the 46 minute mark but the pace was beginning to take it’s toll on the rest of the field as riders were continually being dropped from the pack.  With roughly 10 minutes to go Team Elbowz Racing p/b Boneshaker took control of the front but it was team Optum with Tom Zirbel leading the way who took over with 3 laps to go. Zirbel put his TT legs to work and tapped out a lap and a half  at 32 mph when a crash on the backside of the course created a split. Optum controlled going into the final lap but it was the U23 national criterium champion,  Ty Magner of Hincapie Sportswear, who took the win. Jasper Stuyven of Bontrager Cycling Team 2nd with Ignazio Moser of BMC Development Team taking 3rd.  The GC remained with Tvetcov of Jelly Belly p/b Kenda leading, Haga of Optum p/b Kelly Benifit Strategies in 2nd, and Jakub Novak of BMC Development Team in 3rd.
Tomorrow concludes this edition of the Cascade Cycling Classic with the Aubry Butte Circuit Race. For the women, McGrath and her team seem to be in control but its a challenging course at the end of a week of aggressive racing. Haeusler and the rest of the field should make it interesting for team Exergy. On the men’s side, this race is still up for grabs.  There is only 9 seconds separating the top 3 and only a 1:15 separating the top 10.  Tomorrow should produce some incredible racing.
As a final note, the podium for tonight’s crit were all U23 men. Remember their names as I am sure we will be seeing more of them in the future.
Travis Dixon

Recap-Stage 3 Cascade Cycling Classic

Stage 3 Cascade Cycling Classic

Stage 3 Cascade Cycling Classic

Stage 3 of the Cascade Cycling Classic was run on the Cascade Lakes course. This is a long standing course for this event. The course doesn’t have the amount of climbing that Stage 1 but many in the field feel that this is the toughest stage. The course is unrelenting, constantly up and down and then finishes on the 5 km climb of Sparks Lake. This climb isn’t particularly steep but considering its placement on this stage, it certainly makes the legs and lungs hurt.

 

The men were to ride 90 miles. The BMC Development team had the responsibility of defending the yellow jersey for Novak and with this stacked pro field they definitely had their work cut out for them today. The race began with a 3 mile neutral and as soon as the flag dropped the attacks began. Groups of 10-20 riders would escape only to be brought back and then another group would break … BMC were placing men in each group but it was becoming clear that yellow jersey wearer Novak was not having a good day and many times BMC would call back their riders to help pace the yellow back and bring the group together. The other teams had no mercy and kept firing away at BMC until mile 61 when a nine man group was able to break clear. As the final climb began, the escapees were swept up and 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda got to the front and set a hard pace in hope of launching Mancebo but the rest of the field was strong enough to resist the pace. Seghei Tvetcov of Jelly Belly p/b Kenda took the stage. This was his second stage win in as many days. Travis McCabe of Elbowz Racing p/b Boneshaker took second followed by Chad Haga of Team Optom p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies. Mancebo of 5 Hour Energy finished 5th with the same time as Tvetcov. Former yellow jersey Phillip Gaimon of Bissell Pro Cycling was 8th 2 seconds down. Novak finished 23rd for the day 17 seconds down followed by his teammate, Eisenthart.

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