21st Tour of Willamette

USA, April 11-16, 2000

 Past winners    Tracey Gaudry's Diary    John Lieswyn's Diary


By John Alsedek, cyclingnews.com correspondent

Now in its twenty-first year, the six-day Tour of Willamette is an anomaly: on a domestic schedule largely dominated by big-money criteriums and circuit races held on often nondescript city streets, Willamette offers some of the most challenging, European-style road courses and spectacular scenery to be found in the United States. Nestled away in relative obscurity in the Pacific Northwest, it was for years highly popular regionally, but largely ignored both by the country's top men's and women's teams. Also by the national media, because of its lack of a major title sponsor and the accompanying big budget.

In fact, the Tour of Willamette nearly came to an end in 1998, as race organizers were having to take money out of their own pockets just to keep things going. However, Mercury automobiles through its local dealerships came to the rescue and, combined with a newly-acquired National Racing Calendar slot, helped bring about a renaissance of sorts for the event. For 2000, while the prize money is still relatively small by national standards- $3,500 total for both the men's and women's elite events - the Tour of Willamette still remains one of the most difficult multi-day events in North America.

The Tour of Willamette begins on April 11th with a one-kilometer prologue time trial from the banks of the Willamette River up to the heights overlooking downtown Eugene, then continues through a pair of grueling road races with a combined 14,000 feet of climbing for the men, 8,500 for the women. The 15th is a double-stage day, with a nine-mile time trial in the morning and a late-day criterium in nearby Cottage Grove. The race concludes on April 16th with the Brownsville Road Race, which includes the 11-13% climb to West Brush Creek and a 'sprinters' finish in downtown Eugene.

The stages

  • Prologue - April 11: Skinner's Butte Prologue, 0.6 mile
  • Stage 1 - April 12: Greenhill Road Race, 82 miles men/68 miles women
  • Stage 2 - April 13: Smith River-Vincent Creek Road Race, 89 miles men/62
    miles women
  • Stage 3 - April 14: Kill Hill Road Race, 105 miles men/68 miles women
  • Stage 4 - April 15: Coburg Time Trial, 9 miles
  • Stage 5 - April 15: Cottage Grove Criterium, 45 minutes men/30 minutes women
  • Stage 6 - April 16: Brownsville Road Race, 106 miles men/76 miles women

Past Winners

1992 Herbert Niederberger (Swi)
1993 Ron Kiefel (USA)
1994 Brian Walton (Can)
1995 Simeon Hampsall (GBr)
1996 Dariusz Baranowski (Pol)
1998 Kirk Willett (USA)
1999 Thurlow Rogers (USA)

Past winners courtesy of Mario Stiehl, Berlin