(20 July) – Bend, Oregon - After the McKenzie Pass Road Race, stage 1 of the Cascade Classic, Kristin McGrath of Peanut Butter & Co 2012 wears the yellow leaders jersey. Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Forno d'Asolo) trails by 17 seconds followed by Erinne Willock (Team TIBCO/to the top) in third.
After the McKenzie Pass Road Race, the first stage of the Cascade Classic, Kristin McGrath of Peanut Butter & Co 2012 wears the yellow leaders jersey. Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Forno d'Asolo) trails by 17 seconds followed by Errine Willock (Team TIBCO/to the top) in third. Tara Whitten of Team TIBCO/to the top donned the first leaders jersey after short 2 mile prologue time trial on Tuesday evening. Three seconds back, Clara Hughes (Cycling BC) and Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Company 2012) finished second and third merely .25 of a second separating them.
Held in the Old Mill district of Bend, the out and back course along the Deschutes River featured a short uphill stretch leading into the turn around point. Whitten completed her run on course in 3:52.811. averaging 49.93 Kph. Notable Intermountain finishers included Carmen Small (Team TIBCO/To the top) 11th. at 4:04.445, and Colorado Crosser Meredith Miller also of the TIBCO formation, 18th at 4:05.698.
Wednesdays 119 km McKenzie Pass Road Race presented the first major test for the climbers. After a long downhill run in from the start, the road turned upward for 1200 meters. Twisting and winding through old growth fir and pine groves this first climb would prove to be decisive. A break away of 10 riders went clear. Peanut Butter &Co, Colavita/Forno d'Asolo, TIBCO, SC Velo, NOW and Novartis all placed riders in the break. A series of attacks and counters on the run up to the summit and QOM, resulted in Andrea Dvorak (Colovita/Forno d'Asolo) getting clear to claim the Queen of The Mountain points. Absent from the break were top contenders for the overall win Armstrong and Hughes.
On a fast downhill run off the lava fields of the summit of McKenzie Pass, the break away reclaimed Dvorak. The gap to the main field held at approximately a minute. Following a flat run in to the small community of Sisters Oregon, the race turned back up hill to regain the 500 meters lost on the descent off the pass. In the final 10 km the survivors of the day long break sought to maintain their lead, while Dvorak attacked repeatedly in an attempt to free herself of the remaining 8 riders. Behind this activity a determined chase which included Kristin Armstrong and Clara Hughes sought to bridge the gap.
In the final kilometers the pair was able to close the gap and finished together in fith and sixth positions respectively. The two women shared the same finishing time for a second day.
The true beneficiary of the day was Peanut Butter & Co's Kristin McGrath. After a long day in the break away, spent shutting down the moves initiated by Dvorak, McGrath crossed the finish a scant meter ahead of Dvorak. Both riders were assigned the same finishing time. At the completion of the stage, McGrath wore the yellow race leader jersey. Dvorak laid claim to the Mountains jersey, Carmen Small the points leader, and Rushlee Buchanan of Colavita/Forno d'Asolo the best young rider. The women covered the 119 km course in 3:24:44, averaging 34 KpH.