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

Clinger takes first stage at Cascade, but Danielson could be man to beat

Prime Alliance rider David Clinger took Wednesday’s opening stage ofthe Cascade Classic in Bend, Oregon, beating out a seven-man bunch sprintthat included Saturn’s Tom Danielson and returning champion Chris Wherryof the Navigators. While women’s racing begins Thursday on the decisive McKenzie Pass roadraces stage, the men began a day earlier and many of the major domesticteams showed, including Health Net, Webcor, Sierra Nevada-Clif Bar, SchroederIron and the Trek-VW All Stars. One name that seems to be synonymous with this race belongs to Saturnrider Chris Horner, who lives in 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

Wherry and Danielson lead the winning break

Wherry and Danielson lead the winning break

Photo:

Clinger takes first stage at Cascade, but Danielson could be man to beat

Clinger takes first stage at Cascade, but Danielson could be man to beat

Photo:

Prime Alliance rider David Clinger took Wednesday’s opening stage ofthe Cascade Classic in Bend, Oregon, beating out a seven-man bunch sprintthat included Saturn’s Tom Danielson and returning champion Chris Wherryof the Navigators.

While women’s racing begins Thursday on the decisive McKenzie Pass roadraces stage, the men began a day earlier and many of the major domesticteams showed, including Health Net, Webcor, Sierra Nevada-Clif Bar, SchroederIron and the Trek-VW All Stars.

One name that seems to be synonymous with this race belongs to Saturnrider Chris Horner, who lives in Bend. However Horner didn’t vie for therace win last year, instead taking a backseat to his former Prime Allianceteammates Danny Pate and Michael Creed, and it sounds as though the hometownevent is not a top priority this year, either.

“I’ve got a little bit of form still from the middle of June,” Hornersaid, “but mostly I’ve been working around the house, staining the porch.Don’t get me wrong, this is a great race, I’ve just had other objectives.”

The 100-mile loop circumnavigating Mount Bachelor was held in near perfectconditions, with sunny skies, very little wind and temperatures risingfrom 72-degrees at the start to nearly 85-degrees at the finish five hourslater. In between, the day saw aggressive moves early on, with Navigatorsand Prime Alliance anxious to force Saturn to chase, but each time themen in yellow-and-red covered the move.

Pate, O'Neil and Stierwalt

Pate, O’Neil and Stierwalt

Photo:

Finally, at mile 22, a group of six formed containing Danny Pate (PrimeAlliance), Nathan O’Neill (Saturn), Gordon McCauley (Schroeder Iron), EddyGragus (Trek-VW All Stars), Jon Stierwalt (Rio Grande) and Andy Bajadali(OFOTO-Lombardi). The group held a maximum lead of 58 seconds, but withouta rider in the break the Health Net team went to work at the front, andat mile 41 the group was reeled in, but for Pate and McCauley, who stayedaway for over 30 miles with a gap that hovered under two minutes. Behind,Saturn set a steady tempo with Horner noticeably taking some pulls.

“That was my first time at the front all year,” Horner joked. “I thoughtI’d see if some of the younger guys — Phil [Zajicek], Tim [Johnson] Will[Frischkorn] — have got some form…see what they can do.”

When asked if Pate and McCauley’s 30-mile breakaway was cause for concern,Danielson referred to the experience of his team leader. “Chris Horneris the perfect mathematician,” he said. “So many times this year it’s beenPate and some guy from Schroeder out there, but Chris knew he could givePate two minutes, and that’s all we gave him. Danny’s strong — that’s usuallyall the gap we’ll allow a break of five guys — but Chris knows him reallywell after riding with him all last year.”

Approaching the day’s final feed zone, Pate and McCauley were finallyabsorbed. The peloton didn’t stay together for long, however; as it approachedthe final King of the Mountains hot spot, U.S. Postal’s Tony Cruz — ridingwithout the support of a team — attacked, but Danielson quickly counteredthe move.

Danielson then attacked, and behind him followed Wherry and Clinger,with Mike Sayers (Health Net), Greg Drake (WebCor), Drew Miller (Trek-VW)and Tim Larkin (OFOTO) leading chase. The group quickly established a 25-secondlead.

“I really wasn’t trying to go away,” Danielson said. “I was just tryingto keep the pace high, and I looked back and my wheel was clean.”

As the group came into the finishing descent, Clinger — who sat on thegroup — timed his sprint perfectly, with Sayers finishing second and Danielsonthird. The stage win came as a confirmation for Clinger, who won the Housatonicstage race earlier this year only to see his emerging form threatened aftera nasty crash at the Tour de Beauce injured his knee.

“[Prime Alliance team director] Kirk [Willett] came on the radio andsaid to wait for [Jonathon] Vaughters,” Clinger said. “He told me to siton and wait, to conserve for the group to catch us. Jonathon’s our GC guy.He’s better in the time trial than me.”

When asked if Prime Alliance could realistically hold the overall winagainst a Saturn trio of Horner, O’Neill and Danielson that has dominatedthe domestic stage race scene this year, Clinger was optimistic. “If Vaughtersputs in a good time trial on Friday, we should be able to hold it,” hesaid.

Likewise, Wherry sees Vaughters as a real threat on Thursday’s climbingstage into the town of Sisters. “If Jonathon wants to, he can drill it,”Wherry said. “I was surprised to see Horner at the front to bring Pateback. I think he even got dropped at the last KOM climb. But I’ll tellyou what — Danielson wasn’t hurting. He just punched it up that hill. Theyneed to put a leash on that guy.”

Horner’s pegging Danielson as the favorite. “He definitely put the hurton everyone today, and that wasn’t even a real climb,” Horner said. “Danielsonis looking good. Real good.”

Photo Gallery