Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Road

25th Cascade Classic starts Wednesday

The 25th anniversary of the Columbia River Bank Cascade Cycling Classic — a five-day, six-stage NRC event — commences Wednesday, in Bend, Oregon. The race was swept last year by Saturn’s Tom Danielson and Lyne Bessette, and also boasts defending Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong as a former winner. Armstrong won the race in 1998, a season spent returning to the sport after battling with cancer. Other notable past Cascade competitors include Olympic gold medalists Alexi Grewal and Eric Heiden; OLN commentator Bob Roll, former NORBA national cross-country champion Steve Larsen; Bend

Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.

By Neal Rogers

The 25th anniversary of the Columbia River Bank Cascade Cycling Classic — a five-day, six-stage NRC event — commences Wednesday, in Bend, Oregon. The race was swept last year by Saturn’s Tom Danielson and Lyne Bessette, and also boasts defending Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong as a former winner. Armstrong won the race in 1998, a season spent returning to the sport after battling with cancer.

Other notable past Cascade competitors include Olympic gold medalists Alexi Grewal and Eric Heiden; OLN commentator Bob Roll, former NORBA national cross-country champion Steve Larsen; Bend resident Chris Horner; and three-time world cross-country champion Alison Sydor.

With Danielson taking a break from racing for the Italian Fassa Bortolo squad, the men’s race is open to a handful of favorites. While Horner has never won the race in his adopted hometown – he finished second overall in 2001 – the Webcor captain is expected to arrive at the start line looking for overall victory for himself or either of a pair of teammate, Justin England or Imanol Ayestaran.

“I can win the race,” Horner told The Bulletin, Bend’s daily newspaper. “It’ll come down to how things go technically, and how well I do in the time trial. I think we have the best chance out there to take the overall. We should be able to control the race with seven riders and bring the three of us to the finish — and decide if one of us can win.”

Webcor will likely find its stiffest opposition from Health Net-Maxxis, the top-ranked team in the latest National Racing Calendar rankings. With three-time Cascade champion Scott Moninger reportedly showing untouchable fitness during recent training rides in his hometown of Boulder, Colorado — and 2002 Cascade winner Chris Wherry also on board — Health Net is the odds-on favorite. The team also brings newly crowned Canadian national champion Gord Fraser, Tyler Farrar, Walker Ferguson, John Lieswyn, Jason Lokkesmoe and Mike Sayers.

The U.S. Postal Service squad of Antonio Cruz, Damon Kluck, Patrick McCarty and Mike Creed could play spoiler for Health Net, however, as could the Navigators Insurance squad, with the duo of Chris Baldwin and Phil Zajicek backed by Jeff Louder, Kirk O’Bee, Viktor Rapinski, Burke Swindlehurst and Henk Vogels. Ofoto-Lombardi Sports will likely play a role in the mountains with Jackson Stewart, Andy Bajadali and Tim Larkin on board; however, with only three riders, the team will likely be outnumbered in the chase for overall victory.

No fewer than four returning champions will highlight the women’s four-day, five-stage race, including Bessette of Quark Cycling; 2002 winner Kimberly Bruckner (T-Mobile) and teammate Amber Neben (winner in 2001); and Jessica Phillips of Nürnberger, who won in 2000. With T-Mobile reportedly bringing its “A-Team” — which has been racing in Europe for most of this season — the women’s race promises to be a tightly contested battle.

Men’s elite racing begins Wednesday morning with the 110-mile Pacific Power Road Race; women’s racing commences Thursday with the hilly 70-mile Deschutes Brewery Road Race.

The Pacific Power Road Race opens with a long gradual ascent out of Bend into the Three Sisters Mountains and over the shoulder of Mount Bachelor, where the road descends and travels along the chain of alpine lakes known as the Cascades Lakes. The course loops around the scenic Crane Prairie Reservoir, then climbs back up to Mount Bachelor and returns into Bend with a fast 22-mile descent to the finish. There are 3 KOM spots with a total of 4600 feet of climbing. Last year David Clinger of Prime Alliance won the stage, out of a breakaway of seven riders.

Stage 2 for the elite men, and the opening stage for the elite women (starting five minutes after the men), is the Deschutes Brewery Road Race, an epic stage of mountain passes and twisting switchbacks. The course descends off the west side of the Pacific Crest and then turns onto a steep switchback ascent up to McKenzie Pass. After traveling through lava fields and over the Pacific Crest, the course dives along narrow, twisting roads into the western tourist town of Sisters, finishing with a surprisingly steep ascent for an uphill finish at the base of the Middle Sister.

Nearly 7000 feet of climbing is accumulated on the W-shaped course between the 20-mile ascent to the summit of McKenzie Pass and the finishing uphill slog toward the Middle Sister; there are two KOMs/QOMs along the 70-mile stage. Last year the stage was won in the final stretch when Danielson easily outsprinted Jonathan Vaughters (Prime Alliance), with a surging Bajadali (Ofoto-Lombardi Sports) overtaking Chris Wherry (Navigators) for third place; Bessette won the women’s stage alone, the first of three stage wins.

Friday brings a double day of racing, beginning with the 7-mile rolling Tumalo Time Trial outside of Bend. It’s an event Bessette won last year, adding 59 seconds to her overall lead. The men’s TT was won by Nathan O’Neill, then with Saturn and now racing for Colavita Olive Oil.

The marquee event of the race, the six-turn Desert Bone & Joint Specialists/Rebound Physical Therapy Twilight Criterium, is held Friday evening through the streets of downtown Bend. The men’s field races for 60 minutes plus five laps; women race for 40 minutes plus five laps. Horner won the men’s race in 2003, while Bessette gave the stage to breakaway companion Heather Albert.

Saturday’s hilly Leffel Center/The Source Awbrey Butte Circuit Race features a 13-mile course with two tough climbs totaling 950 feet of climbing per lap. The course travels toward the town of Tumalo and back along the shoulder of Awbrey Butte, with one KOM and one feed per lap. Men race six laps, for 82 miles, while the women race four laps for 58 miles. Clinger won the stage last year, just nipping Danielson at the line, while Bessette again soloed away from the field for the win.

Racing concludes Sunday with the flat Carrera Motors/VW Old Mill District Criterium in the Old Mill District of Bend, overlooking the Deschutes River. The men race 60 minutes plus five laps and the women race for 40 minutes plus five laps. Last year’s winners were Alex Candelario and Bessette.

Past winners of the Cascade Classic
Men

1980 Ron Hayman
1981 Mark Kahn
1982 Alexi Grewal
1983 Dale Stetina
1984 Dale Stetina
1985 David Zimbalman
1986 Alan McCormick
1987 Brian Wallton
1988 Todd Gorski
1989 Michael Carter
1990 Michael Engleman
1991 Greg Orazetz
1992 Cezary Zemana
1993 Bart Bowen
1994 Mike Engleman
1995 Mike Engleman
1996 Marty Jemison
1997 Jonathan Vaughters
1998 Lance Armstrong
1999 Scott Moninger
2000 Scott Moninger
2001 Scott Moninger
2002 Chris Wherry
2003 Tom Danielson

Women
1986 Robin Sewell
1987 Alison Sydor
1988 Phyllis Hines
1989 Cathy Hart
1990 Sally Zack
1999 Stacey Peters
2000 Jessica Phillips
2001 Amber Neben
2002 Kimberly Bruckner
2003 Lyne Bessette