THE DALLES -- Land Rover-Orbea tuned their team game to perfection in the men's pro/1/2 race of the Cherry City Criterium, launching Roman Van Uden across the line ahead of Hagens Berman's lead-out train and Bissell's pros. Steven Beardsley (Gentle Lovers) snuck into the mix for second. Joshua Liberales (Ten Speed Drive) outfoxed the field for third.
The third stage of the Cherry Blossom Classic featured a four-corner 1K crit in downtown The Dalles. Sunny skies and summer-like temps greeted riders, who had been challenged by bitter temps and sustained winds in Friday's stage 1 road race. Saturday evening's criterium was shortened from 50 minutes to 35 after the start was delayed by a crash on the last lap of the Women's Pro/1/2/3 race that required medical attention for several riders.
With a shortened race on tap, the field showed little tolerance for escape attempts -- not that it discouraged people from trying. But the inevitable field sprint of the shortened stage played out in an exciting finale.
Although they had two riders in the top-two spots overall, the boys from Bissell were outnumbered against the powerful (and well-stocked) Land Rover-Orbea and Hagens Berman lead outs.
"It was really a full team effort for the last few laps," Van Uden said of his win. "Evan (Elken) was my last man out there. He took me through the last two corners and I came right off his wheel."
Portland's Gentle Lovers grabbed some limelight when Steven Beardsley worked his way to the front by jumping into the Hagens Berman train.
"I actually cut into their lead-out about the first guy through," he said. "The Land Rover-Orbea guys came up beside them and I saw Roman (Van Uden) there. I knew he was their guy to sprint so I jumped on his wheel."
Unfortunately for Beardsley his spot turned out to be just one wheel too far back in the bunch as Elken launched Van Uden across the line. Van Uden said his team put him in the right spot at the right time.
"Steven Beardsely was right there, but he had some issues taking the last corner too tight and skipped out his wheel," Van Uden said. "Even he said afterward you had to be second wheel to win the race. And that's where I was."
1. Roman Van Uden (Land Rover-Orbea)
2. Steven Beardsley (Gentle Lovers)
3. Joshua Liberales (Ten-Speed Drive)
Men Pro/1/2 Overall
1. Paul Mach (Bissell) 4:01:49
2. Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) +1:44
3. Nick Clayville (Hagens Berman) +3:31
Stage One winner Patricia Bailey (Wines of Washington) was first through the last corner of the Women's Pro/1/2/3 race and held her advantage to the line over the fast-charging Heather Albert (Riverstone Women’s Racing Team). Overall race leader Robin Secrist (Veloforma) was third.
The race was marred by a terrifying last-corner crash that sent four riders to the local hospital. Early reports indicate everyone is OK.
In a race typified by short-lived attacks that were quickly swallowed up by the motivated field, Bailey knew she'd need to be first out of the last corner to win a field sprint.
"In the earlier races, no one changed position coming out of the last corner," Bailey said. "So I decided to (attack) on the back side of the course into the wind. Team Group Health girls did a great job of keeping the pace up, and that was really, really helpful."
1. Patricia Bailey (Wines of washington)
2. Heather Albert (Riverstone Women’s Racing)
3. Robin Secrist (Veloforma)
Women Pro/1/2/3 Overall
1. Secrist 3:47:59
2. Albert +:31
3. Bailey +59
Hood River speedster Karsten Hagen's love of wine propelled him to a win in the Masters 40+50+ race. The ZteaM rider got a gap while winning a bottle of wine in a prime with about eight minutes to go and decided to take it all the way to the line. The field finished nipping at his heels, led by Wines of Washington riders Joe Baratto and Mark Hinman.
Hagen (pictured in ZteaM blue) seemed determined to make something happen in the race, initiating the fist move of the day with ZteaM comrade Clint Chase, and then jumping into just about every attack for the rest of the day. But it was his love of wine that motivated what turned out to be the winning move.
"I tried to win a bottle of wine and just kept going," Hagen said. "I saw I had a gap and just opened it up and gave it everything I had."
Hagen, who finished third in the combined field at February's Jack Frost Time Trial, put his skills to use staying away from the field.
"I kept looking back because I was fairly sure they were going to catch me, and they finally did right at the line there," he said. "I'm a good time-trialer, and that helped, because I did not want to be in a field sprint."
1. Karsten Hagen (ZteaM)
2. Joe Baratto (Wines of Washington)
3. Mark Hinman (Wines of Washington)
Masters 40+50+ Overall
1. David Zimbelman (ZteaM) 3:33:21
2. Todd Gallaher (Counterbalance) +:08
3. Mike McManus (Finnegans Toys/Discover Chiropractic) +:11