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Cascade Cycling Classic - NE
Oregon, USA, July 9-13, 2008
Women's race returns for 2008
By Kirsten Robbins in Oregon
The 29th annual Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic will be held July 9-13, 2008. The long running event will take the riders over some of central Oregon's toughest terrain culminating in several mountaintop finishes.
The organization, Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation (MBSEF) and race promoter Chad Sperry have doubled the race's purse, attracting the strongest field in the history of the event including 2007 Tour de France third placed Levi Leipheimer (Astana) and former world time trial champion Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo-Lifeforce).
Since Astana was not invited to this season's Tour de France, Leipheimer and team-mate Chris Horner will test their legs against some of the top North American riders and their teams including Santiago Botero (Rock Racing), Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United), Tom Danielson (Garmin-Chipotle), Aaron Olson (Bissell) and Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis).
The minimum prize purse for the stage race has been raised to US$45,000 ($25K for men, $20K for women) - an $8,000 increase over the 2007 men's purse and double the 2006 women's payout.
The women's event was cancelled in 2007 due to a scheduling conflict with the national championships and other American races; however, the event is back in full swing on the NRC calendar to attract riders like the Armstrong, in mid-preparation for the Beijing Olympics as well as Felica Gomez (Aaron's), Katheryn Curi-Mattis (Webcor) and Ambar Rais (Tibco). Notable teams include Value Act Capital, Touchstone Climbing and Bike N Sport.
The race will kick off with an 83-mile road race starting in Redmond and ending atop the Pilot Butte, a challenging course sure to shake up the early general classification. On July 10, the climbing will resume during stage two, heading toward the Sisters and up Three Creek road, with a more than 10-mile ascent to the finish.
July 11 will offer no rest for the GC riders in the stage three's 15-mile out and back time trial along the Skiliner Road which will be mainly uphill on the first leg followed by a predominately downhill return.
The stage four criterium on July 12 will offer a chance for the climbers to rest and the sprinters to sprint in the down town Bend L-shaped, short circuit. But if you think the climbing is over, think again.
Stage five will take the riders on an 83-mile "queen stage" on July 13, starting in Bend at the base of the first KOM and wrapping around Crane Prairie Reservoir Elk Lake and beginning the challenging Sparks Lake climb before finishing at the Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort.
The July 14 finale, a circuit race, is sure to wear on the tired legs of the peloton, as the riders will face two significant climbs over a 15-mile circuit. They will race multiple laps before finishing atop the summit where the overall Cascade Classic winner will be crowned.
2007 Phil Zajicek (Navigators Insurance) (Women's race canceled) 2006 Chris Wherry (USA) Toyota-United Amber Rais (Webcor-Platinum Women's) 2005 Scott Moninger (USA) HealthNet/Maxxis Kristin Armstrong (USA) T-Mobile 2004 Mike Creed (USA) U.S. Postal Service Christine Thorburn (USA) Webcor 2003 Tom Danielson (USA) Saturn Lyne Bessette (Can) Saturn 2002 Chris Wherry (USA) Mercury Kimberly Bruckner (USA) Saturn 2001 (3) Scott Moninger (USA) Mercury-Viatel 2000 (2) Scott Moninger (USA) Mercury 1999 Scott Moninger (USA) Mercury 1998 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service 1997 Jonathan Vaughters (USA) Comptel 1996 Marty Jemison (USA) Subaru 1995 (3) Mike Englemann (USA) Team Shaklee 1994 (2) Mike Englemann (USA) Coors 1993 Bart Bowen (USA) Subaru 1992 Cezary Zamana (POL) Subaru 1991 Greg Oravetz (USA) Coors 1990 Mike Englemann (USA) Alpine 1989 Mike Carter (USA) Wheaties-Schwinn Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com