Saturday, April 18, 2009

Swan, Turnbull grab wins at sunny Eugene-Roubaix

(UPDATE: Complete photo galleries for the Eugene-Roubaix morning races are now posted HERE.)

EUGENE - Team Oregon's Chris Swan won the Men's Pro/1/2 Eugene-Roubaix Sunday ahead of Seth Hosmer (HP Chiropractic) and Steven Beardsley (Gentle Lovers) as a breakaway of six approached the line together.

Therapeutic Associates Inc. rider Lisa Turnbull followed up her win at Kings Valley last weekend by taking the women's race in a two-up sprint with breakaway companion Lindsay Fox (Team Oregon) after the pair put more than four minutes into the chasing field.

Early morning cloud cover gave way to sunny skies and summer-like temps Sunday afternoon on the 13-mile course west of Eugene, brushing against the southern tip of Fern Ridge Reservoir.

Men Pro/1/2

Mark Blackwelder started the festivities early with a solo escape on the first of five laps in the 65-mile men’s race. The Gentle Lovers rider built a lead of more than a minute on the field before five more riders jumped across the gap to join him on the fourth lap. Swan, Beardsley, Jeff Bannink (Team Type-1), Seth Hosmer (HP Chiropractic) and Rob English (Midtown Direct) made the crossing. The new grouping at the front appeared to give Gentle Lovers an advantage with two riders in the break, although Blackwelder had been cooking himself out front alone for the entire race when his teammate arrived.

After reeling-in the solo rider, the new lead group started adding more time to the gap.

“We got organized nice and quick,” Swan said. “We rode hard, and we rode as a group really well.”

With most of the well-stocked teams represented in the break, the field behind settled in for field sprint for seventh. The lead group continued to pour it on until they rounded the corner for the long straightaway to the finish, beginning with a short stretch of hard-packed gravel road.

“As we got onto the dirt we started cat-and-mousing,” Swan said. “I was kind of watching Beardsley. He’s the strongest sprinter in the group and had his teammate to lead him out. The sprint started kind of early. I moved around Beardsley and had a little gap on those guys.”

Hosmer and Beardsley crossed the line next, followed by Bannink, English and Blackwelder. Kennett Peterson (Team Oregon) won the field sprint for seventh.

Women 1/2/3

Fresh off her field-sprint win in front of Kelly Benjamin (Colavita Sutter Home) and Robin Secrist (Veloforma) at the Kings Valley Road race April 11, Therapeutic Associates Inc. rider Lisa Turnbull turned up the heat again Saturday in a two-rider breakaway on the second of three laps with Team Oregon’s Lindsay Fox.

The small women’s field struggled to chase but eventually lost about four minutes to the escapees.

“We worked really well together,” Turnbull said, explaining the sizeable time split the two riders achieved. “And I had a teammate sitting back in the pack who wasn’t working.”

With their lead well established on the final lap, the two escapees approached the line for the two-up sprint, where the more experienced Turnbull took a lead out from Fox, who started the season winning Cat. 4 races.

“I sat on her wheel for awhile,” Turnbull said of the closing sprint.

She eventually came around the Team Oregon breakaway companion for a comfortable win. Fox also seemed pleased with the finish.

“I led her out really well,” she joked.

Masters Men 40+

With a slightly smaller field and one less lap, the Masters 40+ event began to look a lot like a condensed version of the Pro/1/2 race when River City Bicycles’ Tim Butler soloed away from the group on the first of four laps and looked determined to stay away.

Butler rode by himself for more than two laps and built a significant lead when Mark Steger (Nike) decided to take matters into his own hands.

“The peleton wasn’t, uh, well they weren’t really racing so I decided to give it a go,” Steger said.

He caught Butler about six miles later on the back side of the course and the two quickly forged an alliance to power the break and stay away until the finish. Butler said Steger showed up just in time.

“When (Steger) bridged up I was pretty gassed,” Butler said. “He sat on and rested, and then we took even pulls for the rest of the race.”

Steger, who considers himself a sprinter and not usually one for small breakaway tries, said sometimes you have to take the risks if you don’t want to end up sprinting for the consolation prizes.

“If we had gotten caught we surely would have lost in the sprint,” he said of the day’s escape effort. “So we made a commitment to stay away. We had to work together to stay away from the field. And it worked out wonderfully today.”

At the finale, Steger put his sprint to work in the last 200 meters and opened a gap to finish just ahead of Butler. Half Fast Velo’s Mark Magilner led the field across the line for third.


Men Pro/1/2
1. Chris Swan (Team Oregon)
2. Seth Hosmer (HP Chiropractic)
3. Steven Beardsley (Gentle Lovers)
4. Jeff Bannink (Team Type-1)
5. Rob English (Midtown Direct)
6. Mark Blackwelder (Gentle Lovers)
7. Kennett Peterson (Team Oregon)

Women Pro/1/2/3
1. Lisa Turnbull (Therapeutic Associates Inc.)
2. Lindsay Fox (Team Oregon)

Men Masters 40+
1. Mark Steger (Nike)
2. Tim Butler (River City Bicycles)
3. Mark Magilner (Half Fast Velo)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rathe Report: Bitter day, but a bright future

(Oregon's Jacob Rathe has been in Belgium with the USA Cycling Junior National Team for the four-stage Ster van Zuid-Limbug. His USA teammate Adam Leibovitz took the leader's jersey in the opening time trial and went into the final stage with a one-second overall lead. Rathe sent Cycling Action this report.)

By now the race finished two days ago, but I just got home early this morning. We finished the race Monday evening, got back to the Izegem house late and got up early to go to the airport. Twenty-four hours later, I was home.

Stage 4 was also the queen stage of the race; five King of the Mountains sprint points and hard finishing circuits. The climbs were nothing we had encountered yet in this race. They were between 1 and 1.5k, with gradients of 15-20 percent. They were hard enough to split the field in two.

We expected the overall to come down to the wire. With such small time gaps it was possible many different riders could still win. We were all tired from the time we spent on the front defending the jersey the previous days. It was already an accomplishment to keep a three-second lead for two days, but we wanted to finish it off.

The race didn't pan out as we had hoped. We lost the leader's jersey and the team classification on the last day. The break went pretty early in the race. We let it get some time, confident we could bring it back in the end. The gap was up to 1 minute 30 seconds with 60k to go when the chase started. Two other teams started the chase, and we soon joined them.

The pace was fast and steady, and I was was confident the race would come back togetther. I hopped in the rotation once we got to the finishing circuits. They were in the same town that the prologue was in, the prologue course being half of the circuit. I pulled hard, but not too hard, for the first two laps. That was when I realized the gap wasn't really coming down. It was still 50 seconds. Teams started to get a little bit desperate, and the chase was full throttle. Teams that had riders in the break would join the paceline and disrupt the rhythm. I pushed and yelled at them to make them timid about doing it, but they didn't care.

It was by far the most exciting atmosphere the race had been through. The course was a figure-eight. With two loops that didn't cross by-passed within a block of each other in the town area. A solid wall of people lined the streets of the climbs. After the start/finish line we turned right and up the climb, sprinting out of the turn each lap, feeling more like a criterium, not the bottom of a climb.

I am still surprised how the group of 6-8 riders stayed away. At the finish they had 23 seconds. We lost the overall race by 16 seconds. We just needed to go 16 seconds faster in the final 60k of chasing. Adam dropped to 3rd on GC. I went from 7th to 11th. The team went from 1st on Team GC to 2nd.

It was a bitter ending to what was a great milestone for the U.S. development team program. Junior Team Director Ben Sharp said that when he started this job only two years ago, it was a success for every rider to finish in the pack. And it wasn't unusual for them to be dropped early in the race. Now he actually had to think about how to win.

This is only the beginning for me, after doing Sea Otter and Willamette Stage Race in the states these next two weeks, I go back to Belgium for a month.

Photo courtesy of Sports Photography by Jos Aerden.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Land Rover-Orbea's Hunn Conquers PIR's Second Week

Land Rover-Orbea's Logan Hunn stormed into PIR Tuesday, contesting every hotspot and taking the final sprint for the day's overall win.

Bridgetown Velo's Chris Haverty was second with 12 points. Aaron Coker (HP Chiropractic/Hammer Nutrition) finished third with 11. Cyclepath's Christian Tresser had a good night fighting for the hotspot sprints, winning one and finishing second in another. But he earned no points in the finishing sprint and dropped to 8th overall with five points.

The Pro/1/2/3 group covered nearly 24 miles in less than 50 minutes, with a tailwind driving sprints past 40 mph as the field covered the course counterclockwise.

Portland's pro cycling team used the weekday training race to practice launching Hunn off the front while the rest of the team bunched things up in the pack, making for an uneven pace. The team eventually launched Hunn over the line first in an exciting curb-to-curb finale.

More Photos HERE.

1. Hunn, Logan (Land Rover/ORBEA) 23
2. Haverty, Chris (Bridgetown Velo) 12
3. Coker, Aaron (HPChiro/Hammer Nutrition) 11
4. Browning, John (Cyclepath Racing) 8
5. Mauer, Jason (Fred Meyer) 8

Cat 3/4
1. D'Elia, Matt (Portland Velo) 15
2. Birman, Dan (Beaverton Bicycle Club) 12
3. Harwood, Jeff (Ironclad Performance Wear) 12
4. Mansker, Kevin 11
5. Ratliff, Brian (Portland Velo) 7

Monday, April 13, 2009

Land Rover-Orbea plans May ride, party to benefit LAF's cancer fight

The Portland-based Land Rover-Orbea Professional Cycling Team is partnering with Laurelwood Brewery to present a fun afternoon of bikes, BBQ and award-winning beer all while raising funds to help the Lance Armstrong Foundation fight cancer.

All 10 members of the UCI Continental Men's Cycling Team will be on hand to participate in the ride, meet everyone, shake hands, sign autographs, flex their quads and enjoy the festivities. Team Manager Norrene Godfrey said this will be the first time all the team's riders -- who hail from New Zealand, Canada, Oregon, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Colorado and California -- will be in Oregon.

The day kicks off with a scenic 20-mile ride that will offer a bit of challenging terrain but reward participants with some of the best viewpoints of the city. Stick around after the ride for BBQ, beer, live music, a bike expo and more in the Laurelwood Brewery parking lot. All proceeds will go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation to support cancer prevention and survivorship.

John Ohnstad, LIVESTRONG Challenge Region 8 Mentor, will be on hand to answer any questions about the Lance Armstrong Foundation and how people can get involved with the Seattle LIVESTRONG Challenge.

Benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation

Sunday, May 24th @ Noon
Laurelwood Brewery & Public House
5115 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR 97213
Entry Fee: $20.00
All proceeds will go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation

Register Online @

...Or mail this ENTRY AND RELEASE FORM with a check for $20 (or more if you want to donate!)
Payable to:
Land Rover-Orbea
c/o Eric Tsai
6406 NE Garfield Ave
Portland OR 97211

Rathe Report: Too Close For Comfort

Oregon racer Jacob Rathe (Hammer/CMG Racing) is currently in Belgium with the USA Cycling Junior National Team, which is competing in the four-day Ster Van Zuid-Limburg near the border of Belgium and the Netherlands. Rathe sent Cycling Action this report about stages 2 & 3.

(UPDATED BELOW: Monday, 3:25 p.m.)

Stage 2: Tactical Games

Yesterday was stage 2, and it turned out to be a very interesting day tactically. The race was 112k. We rode 77k to a town and then did five loops on a 7k finishing circuit. It wasn't very hilly, but it was hillier than I expected.

The first hour of the race was aggressive and nervous, breaks tried to establish themselves but enough teams were active that nothing stuck. Later in the race it became more dangerous for us. Our goal was to bring the pack in together for a bunch sprint and hope that the winner wasn't one of the few riders within five seconds of our race leader Adam Leibovitz. The winner gets a five-second time bonus.

A few small groups would establish time gaps but we were quick to plop 3 guys, including myself, on the front to bring it back. Things got really interesting on the finishing circuits. On the second lap Nate and I found ourselves in a breakaway group of 10 guys. Most of the good teams were represented, it was looking good. Since we have the leader's jersey, we didn't have to help with the pacemaking. We could get a free ride at the back because we didn't want to help a high-placed rider gain time on Adam, and possibly take the lead from us.

As expected, the other members of the break weren't happy we were there. They yelled at us to help but it was in our best interest that the break didn't succeed. For me though, it was a perfect situation. I was the highest-placed rider in the front group, and I could sit at the back and not do any work. At one point we had 33 seconds and I was the leader of the race on course.

But, the organization of the group fell apart, they were all tired. Had I pulled it had a better chance of succeeding, but I didn't know who was in the break, and if a higher-placed rider than I had beaten me at the finish, we would lose the jersey altogether.

With two laps to go another group of 10 bridged up to us. Adam was not there, but the third-placed rider was. At that point, the main field wasn't far back. We were somewhat relieved to bring it all back together and make sure Adam was in the front group.

Then the real work started to keep it together. No big moves went until the last lap, when the second-placed rider from Great Britain launched off the climb. It took myself and two other U.S. riders more than half a lap to bring him back. It was scary, but the USA train brought the race back together, holding onto the yellow jersey one more day. We have a stage this afternoon, and the last one tomorrow. I moved up to sixth place on GC, still seven seconds back.

Stage 3: A Tough Day For Team USA

We started the stage still in the leader's jersey by three seconds. It was a 112k race, ending again with five finishing circuits. The course was rolling and technical. It was a relatively mellow race the first 30k (for Euro standards), and enough teams were active that nothing stuck.

A group of three eventually sneaked away and gained a one-minute advantage. It was time for Team USA to go to the front. Four of us set tempo on the front, leading the now 175-rider field through the windy countryside and into the technical narrow streets of the small Belgian towns. We brought it back without too much trouble -- probably too soon.

I made a tactical mistake when I let a group go 5k before an intermediate sprint. I assumed the team with the red (points) jersey would want to keep it together. But I was wrong, and another group, this time of eight, got away and the gap rose to a minute. We entered the finishing circuits with eight riders storming away from the field and about 40k to go. Three of us went to the front again, setting the tempo high. It took us about 1.5 laps to bring it back without much of a problem.

That was when we got into big trouble. With two laps to go, less than 20k, we were all tired. We continued to be bombarded by attacks. With 1.5 laps to go another group got away. I was the only one left at the front, and no other teams were motivated to chase. I got on the front and gave all that I had left. I led the first half of the last lap until the escapees were in sight. That's when the sprinters' teams got excited and swarmed me. The break never did get caught, but they had less than 10 seconds at the finish.

Unfortunately, The Belgian who won gained enough time on the field, plus the time bonuses, to come one second behind Adam on GC. Toooo close...

We've got one more stage this afternoon, and we've got the top spot on the podium ... by one second.

(UPDATE: reports that during Monday's final stage, Adam Leibovitz slipped to third overall when he finished in the pack behind a six-rider breakaway. Jacob Rathe was 11th on the final GC.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rathe Report: Team USA Rocking the Roads of Belgium

(Oregon racer Jacob Rathe, Hammer/CMG Racing, is currently in Belgium with the USA Cycling Junior National Team. He sent Cycling Action this report).

APRIL 11 -- Yesterday evening we started a four day stage race, Ster Zuid Van Limburg (something like that), here near the border of Belgium and the Netherlands. We did a 5.3 k prologue starting and ending in the same small town. It was very nice and warm, close to 20 degrees Celsius with moderate steady wind. It started uphill, over a few rollers and back in to town with the last 1.5k slightly uphill with a steady headwind.

Team USA did great. US National TT Champion Adam Leibovitz took the leader's jersey with a time of 6 min 21 sec, and I came in 7th with a time of 6 min 28 sec. The next placed US rider was 11th, and all of us were in the top 30 of the 185 rider field.

We have a lot of work to do to keep the lead over the next 3 we have a 112 k stage. The race will most likely be decided in the time bonuses given out at different sprint points along the stage and at the finish.

It is very nice in this area of Belgium, very old. And plenty of road furniture ...

The father of one of Rathe's teammates posted some video HERE.