Colavita/Forno d'Asolo threw a monkey wrench in the plans of the big teams at the 32nd Cascade Classic this week. Aggressive riding by Rushlee Buchanan, Leah Kirchmann, Janel Holcomb, Lauren Hall, and Andrea Dvorak netted the team the Cascade Lakes Road Race with Buchanan, and the Downtown Crit won by Hall. In addition, Buchanan took home a second consecutive Best Young Rider Jersey, Andrea Dvorak dominated the Queen Of The Mountains, and Holcomb's ride on the punishing Awbry Butte circuit placed the Race Leaders Jersey on her shoulders on the final day of racing. Icing on the cake was the season long Prestige Series Sprint Jersey.
Peanut Butter&Co. TWENTY12 and Team TIBCO/To The Top brought their A teams to the race. PB&Co came looking for the overall with Kristin Armstrong. Canadian Clara Hughes came to the race with a small provincial team from British Columbia. After the prologue it appeared that a rematch of the Hughes/Armstrong battle at Mt Hood Cycling Classic in June was in the offing as the wo were separated by a scant 3 seconds. Indeed the Yellow jersey changed hands three times after Tara Whitten (TIBCO/To The Top) claimed it in the prologue. Stage 1 over McKenzie Pass saw Kristin McGrath (PB&Co) claim the overall. A head to head in the Chrono between Hughes and Armstrong was won by Hughes and she held the race lead going into the Awbrey Butte Circuit.
The day began with Peanut Butter &Co. trying to control tempo with the women of TIBCO. The rest of the field had other ideas. On the first circuit the tactic worked. Second time around the attacks came. Active all week, the women of NOW and Novartis and Colavita, along with Vanderkitten and Primal/Map My ride pressured the two bigger teams. As the peloton shattered and regrouped repeatedly. Peanut Butter &Co. worked hard on the front to limit the damage with the expectation that they would place Kristin Armstrong on the podium. In the end only Armstrong and former race leader Kristin McGrath would finish for team in blue and white.
The final selection occurred on the false flat above the Archie Briggs corkscrew. Janel Holcomb (Colavita), Alison Shanks and Kaytee Boyd (Bike NZ), US Elite Road Champion Robin Farina and Ann Samplonius (Now and Novartis), Meredith Miller (TIBCO), a rider from Primal/Map My Ride and two others went clear on lap 3 of 4. On the ensuing descending half of the circuit, the group was refined to Holcomb, Boyd and Samplonius, with Farina dangling off their tails. Joelle Neumainville (TIBCO) had attempted to join the group but she now also dangled in no mans land between the break of three and the main field as the race returned for one last ascent of Archie Briggs Road.
By now the field was scattered about the climbing section of the course. The leaders had a substantial gap over a group containing Armstrong and race leader Clara Hughes (Cycle BC). As the leaders crested Archie Briggs for the last time it was Holcomb leading Samplonius by a handful of meters. Boyd had been shed on the climb. Samplonius took Holcomb on the line by a pair of bike lengths. In the final counting, the gap to the group of Armstrong and Hughes in yellow was 2:17. Enough that Holcomb jumped to the overall race lead. Holcomb now also leads the NRC standings.
Podium Cafe contributors Vanderkitten/Focus brought 4 women to Cascade. Emily Collins the current U-23 road champion figured in the break during the Cascade Lakes Road Race. Pascal Schnider, the reining champion of Switzerland in the Chrono and on the road was present in the break during the crit and on the Awbry Butte Circuit. She also spent one day in the green Points Leader Jersey.
Filed: 25 July 2011
Christopher See for Podium Cafe
Images copyright Christopher See 2011