Carpenter defends Cascade title in chaotic finish

Poidevin wins final stage as Dragoo seals overall

Robin Carpenter (Holowesko) crossed the finish line behind stage winner, Alex Howes (Team USA) to gain 6-seconds on the stage that had an average speed of 28.3 mph, securing his overall victory for the second year in a row. Jacob Rathe (Jelly Belly) came across for third. Gavin Mannion (UHC) and Evan Huffman (Rally) finished in the front group to secure second and third overall on GC.

“The last day is hard, it’s a good day to take it,” Carpenter said. “It’s definitely stressful, I’ve got to say I was really relieved after the race. I’m a head case when I come to a race I know I can win, so I was happy I could keep it together.”

GC contenders were separated by only a few seconds at the start of the Archie Butte Circuit road race, as the men raced 81.6 miles / 5-laps. Teams were prepped for a stressful day, as the KOM competition was also close, with only a 2-point difference between Movistar Team Ecuador and Canel’s Specialized. Jefferson Cepeda (Movistar) was able to hold on, taking the jersey after a hard-fought week.

“There were riders with points close to me so we had to fight since every point was important,” Cepeda said. “The work by the team went very well. It’s a beautiful race, anytime the team is able to take a jersey home, it’s very important.”

The finished became chaotic as the men’s field caught the women’s field only 500meters from the line. Stephen Bassett (Silber) had attacked not long before, with Carpenter behind, when putting in a dig for the line, crashed into Whitney Alison (Colavita).

“We were going so fast,” Carpenter explained. “It just happened that it was in the final corner that we merged. It’s really unfortunate for Bassett, just looking down and he plowed into her. I was a little bit behind it and managed to get around. He was definitely going to podium, and probably going to win so it’s too bad for him.”

Howes earned the third stage win for Team USA. “We were kind of lucky that we went so bad in the time trial, so it let the other guys sweat over the GC,” Howes said. “It’s always nice coming back here, rekindle some good memories of my U23 title. At this day and age, it’s hard to win any bike race, it doesn’t matter if Valverde showed up to a cat 3 race, they don’t come free anymore.”

Peter Stetina agreed, “The North American level is extremely high, I’m pretty impressed. It feels good to win a race no matter where in the world you are. It’s a UCI race so there’s points on the line…it’s important for both of us.”

Taylor Shelden (Jelly Belly) took top points on the first sprint of the day to secure his first green sprint points classification jersey of his career. Luis Villalobos (Aevolo) kept the best young riders jersey.

© Cascade Cycling Classic – Allie Dragoo seals Cascade victory

Sho-Air Twenty20’s Allie Dragoo claimed the overall victory in the 38th edition of the Cascade Cycling Classic after five days of tough racing in central Oregon. The 27-year-old finished third on the final day to win the title by just six seconds ahead of stage 5 winner Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling). Emma Grant (Team Colavita Bianchi) finished a close second at the end of a hot and challenging 50-mile (80km) stage.

“My team really put it all out there for me,” Dragoo said. “I’m so thankful to them. I was stressed and anxious before the stage. I owe it to all of them. It’s really special to me. It’s been a couple of years of ups and downs, it really feels good to end the stage racing season with a win and I owe it to my team.”

“I owe everything to the man upstairs, I was praying the whole way up the final climb. I knew it was going to be very hard, and she was riding away from me like it was no big deal. I was praying to please give me legs. It was this close, Sara Poidevin raced a really good race, and so did the Rally Cycling team. They made it a fun race for us.”

The final stage of the 2017 Cascade Classic was a decisive one for all the jerseys, save the best young rider, in which Poidevin established an early lead. The tension was palpable at the start of the stage that featured three laps of a 16-mile (25.7km) circuit and a steep finishing climb.

The Rally Cycling team came out with all guns blazing, making it a tough day for the young Twenty20 squad to neutralize attack after attack. The first serious break to make it up the road contained Abby Mickey (Colavita Bianchi), Steph Roorda (Sho-Air Twenty20) and Heidi Franz (Rally Cycling). The trio gained a max of around a minute before the second lap pace blew the field apart and former yellow jersey leader Kristi Lay (Rally) bridged Poidevin across to the break.

Dragoo and her Sho-Air Twenty20 team sensed the danger move and moved to the front to neutralize the threat, with Dragoo doing much of the work herself to bring the five riders back. By the top of the second QOM, Dragoo had the leaders in her sights, but wasn’t getting much help from the decimated field.

With 20km to go, Sho-Air Twenty20 caught the break and the field reset, laying out more attacks before the final 10km saw Claire Rose (Visit Dallas-DNA), Jess Cerra (Hagens Bergman Supermint), Whitney Allison (Team Colavita), Jasmin Duehring (Sho-Air Twenty20) and Sara Bergen (Rally) a 15 second gap.

The GC favorites came all together at the base of the final climb, and from there it was a battle of attrition won by Poidevin, centimeters ahead of Grant. Dragoo came across the line in third, securing her overall win.

“It’s really special. I don’t do things for myself, I did it for them,” Dragoo said. “I would sacrifice myself for them anytime. Thanks to the all of the people who support us, thanks for making the prize money equal, it’s really special. It means a lot.”

Poidevin added to her successful week at Cascade with a win in the Queen of the Mountains competition. Bergen was the final recipient of the green jersey.

“I just turned 21 in May,” Poidevin said. “This year is very different from last year being in contention for the GC so it changed the race a lot. Once we got in a good position from the first stage for the GC that was our main priority. Of course, it’s awesome to come away from the white jersey.”

Kline edges to photo finish win, Mannion holds onto yellow

Rose dominates downtown Bend criterium

Shane Kline (Rally) edged out Miguel Bryon (Holowesko) in a photo finish in downtown Bend Saturday to earn the first UCI win of his career. Last year’s winner, Joe Lewis (Holowesko) crossed the line in third.

“First UCI win so I’ll take it,” Shane Kline said. “We had the plan for me to sprint coming into the race. It’s kind of new because I’ve spent a lot of the year sprinting for guys like Eric Young and Brad (Huff). I’m normally their last guy so for me to have a shot tonight was huge, I really thank the team for that.”

An 18-rider break was established midway through the 75-minute race, that included both Taylor Shelden (Jelly Belly) and Greg Henderson (UHC), competing for the sprinter point’s classification.

The break was given up to a 40-second lead, until Rally Cycling moved to the front of the field, setting pace before reeling the group back in with 7 laps to go. Holowesko|Citadel took over the pace, setting up their lead out for Bryon.

“We got swarmed on the back stretch with one lap to go so I got tied up back there,” Bryon said. “I came out of the last corner a little too far back; the guy’s wheel that I was on dropped his chain and opened up a big gap that I had to come across which is why it came down so close. I’m very disappointed, I was coming with enough speed but I knew I didn’t have enough to distance him so I knew he had it.”

Gavin Mannion (UHC) crossed the line with the field to maintain yellow heading into Sunday’s Awbrey Butte Circuit Race, with Robin Carpenter (Holowesko) one-second back, and Evan Huffman (Rally) looking to gain 3 seconds for the overall. Jefferson Cepeda (Movistar) keeps his lead in the King of the Mountain competition, as does Luis Villalobos (Aevolo) as the Best Young Rider. Taylor Shelden maintains a 3-point lead in the sprint point’s competition ahead of Henderson.

Visit Dallas/ DNA Claire Rose solos to win stage 4 (Photo: VeloImages)

Claire Rose showed why she’s the U.K. national champion time trial champion after soloing to a decisive win in the downtown Bend criterium. The Visit Dallas DNA rider attacked with six laps to go in the 50-minute race and gained a significant gap to easily take the win and take over the green jersey. Kendall Ryan (Team TIBCO) won the bunch sprint for second place and Canadian road champion Ali Beveridge (Rally) finished third.

“There were a lot of attacks by Rally, so when there was a lull I took my opportunity to do a solo attack and I was able to hold it to the finish,” said Rose, who won the Skyliner time trial earlier this week. “When you’re out there on your own you’ve got to focus on giving it everything to the line.”

Allie Dragoo (Twenty20) finished safely in the bunch to keep her yellow jersey going into the final stage, 16 seconds ahead of Sara Poidevin (Rally), who is the best young rider jersey. Dragoo’s teammate, Jasmin Duehring is third, 44 seconds down. The Queen of the Mountains jersey remains on the back of Margot Clyne going into the final stage.

The Awbrey Butte Circuit Race for Stage 5 will begin Sunday at 11:00 am for the men who will be racing 5 laps / 81.6 miles, while the women will race 3 laps / 49.1 miles and start at 11:50 am PDT.

Stetina Earns First Victory at Cascade, Mannion Keeps GC Lead

Bergen wins Cascade Lakes Road Race, Draggo Holds onto Yellow Jersey

Sara Bergen (Rally Cycling) took the win at Cascade Lakes Road Race by a convincing margin ahead of Kate Buss (Tibco) and Emma Grant (Colavita Bianchi) after 85 miles of racing.

The race was a war of attrition that ended up with a decimated field.

“We raced hard and kept the yellow,” Dragoo said. “I’m really proud of my teammates for working at the front for most of the day and for Steph (Rooda) for staying in the break the whole day. All I can say is that they are so reliable, so that’s nice. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing.”

Allie Dragoo remains in yellow heading into tomorrow’s criterium stage by 16 seconds ahead of Sara Poidevin (Rally). Jasmin Duehring is third, 44 seconds back.

The jersey standings remain the same with Dragoo in yellow, now 16 seconds ahead of best young rider Poidevin. Bergen is still in the green jersey while Margo Clyne (JLvelo) took over the QOM.

Tomorrow is a downtown criterium starting at 5:30 pm PDT for the women, racing for 50 minutes.

Team USA Peter Stetina wins his first stage at Cascade

Peter Stetina (Team USA) took his first stage win of his career on the 107.3-mile stage 3 race for the men.  Stetina had put in numerous attacks in the final kilometers, while Movistar Team Ecuador were the only ones who could follow. The home field advantage helped Stetina win ahead of second place Santiago Montenegro (Movistar) and Jefferson Sepeda (Movistar).

“We had the boys each take their turn lining it (peloton) out and keeping it fast,” Stetina said. “I need a climbers climb to win, I can’t just attack on punch, so we had to make sure everyone was in a bit in the red. Then, I was about to hit it with the Ecuadorians on the way up. I knew the corners and the finish; I made sure to shut them down there, went early and held on. This is my first individual win since my U23 wins. Usually on the WorldTour I’m racing for (Bauke) Mollema or Alberto (Contador). It’s fun to rekindle that flame, no matter where you are in the world.”

Movistar Team Ecuador fought hard for the stage win, but was happy with two on the podium. “We had a very powerful rival that races in the WorldTour,” Montenegro said about Stetina. “We had several teammates with us but missed having that extra power for the sprint at the finish. In the end, the results are good. We continue to look for opportunities, and will fight for the KOM.”

The teams riding for GC were placed on high alert when Holowesko | Citadel sent three riders in a 10-man break that was established shortly after the first KOM. The lead group included second place on GC, Robin Carpenter with TJ Eisenhart and Oscar Clark.  Alex Cataford (UHC) was able to make the move along with others that included Taylor Shelden (Jelly Belly), Paco Mancebo (Hangar 15), and Emerson Oronte (Rally) to name a few.

Eisenhart and Clarke drove the break most of the day, putting every bit of energy left in their reserves for Carpenter before dropping off shortly before the final climb. Headwinds on the climb into the finish sealed their fate as the break was caught less than 2k to the line.

“Our plan was to try to put the defending team under pressure,” Carpenter said after the stage. “It half worked, but Cataford was in the group so I think UHC was somewhat happy letting it go. Other teams chipped in a lot to bring us back.

“In the end, I didn’t get much help from anyone in that group, and it was always going to be tough to stay away on that headwind climb. I’m disappointed I couldn’t do more but proud of how my team rode. In the end, we still have two more days to take a single second.”

Gavin Mannion finished in the front group, holding onto yellow heading into the final stages. There were no changes on GC.

Luis Villalobos gained a few seconds on the stage, keeping the BYR jersey for Saturday. Tayler Sheldon (Jelly Belly) moved into the lead for the sprint/points competition classification; a result from pulling through in the break during the day. It’s the first of his career, and his first race back after a collarbone break at the Tour of California.

The KOM jersey competition also heated up today, with Efren Santos (Canel’s) picking up top points for the first KOM. Jefferson Sepeda (Movistar) earned 4 points for finishing second, moving ahead of Santos by 2 points. Both teams have high objectives for the jersey and expect a battle on Sunday.

Stage 4 Downtown Crit presented by Desert Orthopedics & Rebound Physical Therapy, will begin at 7:00 pm PDT for the men, racing for a total of 75 minutes.