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

Tolleson wins stage, Moninger defends lead at Cascade

As Jeff Louder of Navigators and four other cyclists broke away from the pack, Scott Moninger and his Health Net-Maxxis teammates sat at the front of the peloton and waited. And waited. Finally, during the final climb to the finish of Saturday's Awbrey Butte Circuit Race in the Cascade Cycling Classic, Health Net made its move. Moninger, the race leader coming in, was propelled to the front by his teammates and finished second in the stage to hang onto the overall lead. "It's a lesson in patience," Moninger said. "My teammates just rotated through. We've been in this position a

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 Mark Morical, Special to VeloNews

As Jeff Louder of Navigators and four other cyclists broke away from the pack, Scott Moninger and his Health Net-Maxxis teammates sat at the front of the peloton and waited.

And waited.

Finally, during the final climb to the finish of Saturday’s Awbrey Butte Circuit Race in the Cascade Cycling Classic, Health Net made its move. Moninger, the race leader coming in, was propelled to the front by his teammates and finished second in the stage to hang onto the overall lead.

“It’s a lesson in patience,” Moninger said. “My teammates just rotated through. We’ve been in this position a number of times over the years, so we’re good at monitoring our efforts.”

Louder, who was 13 seconds behind Moninger through four stages coming into Saturday, was the race leader on the course for most of the stage, as he and four other riders were in the lead for nearly five laps of the 82-mile, six-lap course on and around Awbrey Butte in northwest Bend. Their lead on the peloton grew to as large as one minute, 30 seconds.

But Health Net played it perfectly, catching Louder, Tim Johnson of Jittery Joe’s-Kalahari and Aaron Olson of Colavita-Sutter Home during the final climb on Archie Briggs Road.

Moninger was brought to the front by teammate Doug Ollerenshaw, and the overall leader nearly won the stage. But 19-year-old Taylor Tolleson of Cal Giant-Village Peddler slipped by Moninger, 38, at the last second to steal the stage win.

Tolleson’s winning time was 3 hours, 1 minute, 11 seconds. Cesar Grajales of Navigators was third.

Tolleson said he saw his chance with just 200 meters left.

“I waited and tried to be patient,” Tolleson said. “I just got lucky, I guess, right at the end. I thought the break was going to stay away, but when I saw all of them coming back, I just got so excited. I couldn’t help it. There’s no pain once you can see the finish line.”

The stage victory was a bit of vindication for Tolleson, who was in a lead pack for about 100 miles during Wednesday’s Prineville Road Race, only to be caught by several Health Net and Navigators riders close to the finish.

“Roles were reversed the first day,” Tolleson said. “It feels good to come out on top for once.”

Moninger, whose overall time is 12:26:41 going into today’s final stage, still has an 11-second lead on Grajales and now a 25-second lead on Chris Baldwin of Navigators.

Coming into Saturday, racers knew there would be plenty of action, as seven riders were all within one minute of the overall lead, including Louder, Grajales and Baldwin.

On the final climb of the first lap, Louder, Johnson, Olson, Bernard van Ulden of Webcor and Ian MacGregor of TIAA-CREF all broke away from the pack. They led the peloton by more than a minute for about 60 miles.

“The whole day, the idea was to put those guys (Health Net) under pressure,” Louder said. “We’ve got a good hand, with three guys in the top four. We wanted to isolate Moninger and win the yellow jersey. It’s hard. Those guys are pros. On the breakaway, we were killing it. Everyone was going pull for pull. I was just going for it and killing it as long as I could.

“It didn’t work, but that’s bike racing. You’ve got to try. It was all or nothing. I was either going to win the race or die trying.”

Finally, on the final lap, the pack began closing fast on the leaders. Van Ulden and MacGregor were soon caught by the peloton. Olson made a break from the lead pack and was by himself with four miles to go. Louder and Johnson were caught by the peloton with two miles left, as was Olson.

As all the riders came together on the final climb to the finish, Ollerenshaw was able to lead Moninger to the front as Grajales and Baldwin attacked.

“It really did work perfectly, because both Cesar and Baldwin were hesitant to make any big moves because they were hoping that Louder would stay out there,” Moninger said. “So that really played into our hands perfectly. Just to check them right at the base of the climb was what we had talked about.”

Moninger did not hesitate to credit his teammates.

“The guys turned themselves inside out,” he said. “It was so hard to defend a small margin like that. They rode amazing, every single one of them. They just buried themselves. Doug (Ollerenshaw) and Gord (Fraser) just did an amazing job. Doug just buried himself to take me to that last corner.”

A scary moment occurred early on in Saturday’s race when Remi McManus of Subway, who finished third in Friday’s Twilight Criterium, ran into the median on Mount Washington Drive and went down hard. Race director Brad Ross said that McManus was taken by ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center-Bend, and was treated and released, with no broken bones.

“He lost a bunch of skin off his backside and broke his helmet,” Ross said. “He’s not going to be sitting down for a while.”

Moninger said he plans to play it safe during Sunday’s final stage of the Cascade Classic, the Old Mill District Criterium in Bend. If he hangs on for the overall victory, it would be his fourth overall win at the Cascade, which he won from 1999 to 2001.

“Nothing’s easy, but tomorrow will certainly be an easier race to defend than today,” Moninger said. “All the guys really rode hard today, so they’ll need every minute of recovery.”

The elite men’s Old Mill District Criterium starts at 1:30 p.m. The race is a 1.2km, six-corner, technical loop.