Mannion second overall at Cascade Cycling Classic
BEND, Ore. – UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling wrapped up another successful week of racing Sunday in Bend, Oregon at the Cascade Cycling Classic with Gavin Mannion finishing second overall and Daniel Eaton taking fourth on GC.
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling wins team classification
Mannion wore the yellow jersey from the second day until the final stage, when he was edged out by defending champion Robin Carpenter (Holowesko-Citadel.
“It was a tough week of racing,” Mannion said. “The team rode perfectly all week, especially on the last stage. We were always represented in the key breaks. It’s tough to lose on the last stage, but Robin had a great final sprint.”
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling also brought home first place in the team classification.
Stage by stage
The 38th edition of the Cascade Classic kicked off with an undulating 170km road race topped off with a brutal finishing climb. Mannion had a good start to the week finishing in fourth place.
“With 40kms to go only five riders remained in the front, including Greg Henderson,” team director Seba Alexandre said. “At the start of last climb, attacks started to happen in the field and finally the break got caught with 5kms to go. Probably 35 to 40 finished in the first group and we had our three time trial riders in perfect position for the second stage.
Mannion didn’t disappoint the next day at the Skyliner time trial. He finished second on the stage, which moved him into yellow with a slight lead.
“The boys did well,” Alexandre said. “We were waiting for them to step up in the U.S. races, and they did it. There were time bonuses on the line for the next three days so it wasn’t going to be easy, as Mannion had one second on Carpenter.”
The third stage was another 170kms with two significant climbs, one 10kms in the race and the other one at the finish.
On the first climb attacks started quickly, but nothing could get established until the top when Alex Cataford escaped with several others. Carpenter, Paco Mancebo(Hangar 15) and TJ Eisenhart (Holowesko) bridged across making the move a dangerous one for the field to let go.
“We took control of the situation and rode at the front,” Alexandre said. “Once we got everyone from the team in one group we set a high and steady tempo and kept the gap inside three minutes for 100kms, then the gap started to come down.”
Finally the break was caught with four kms to go. Mannion and Eaton finished in the main group and held onto the yellow jersey or another day.
In the criterium the next day, the plan was to take control of the race and have an easy a day as possible, but that didn’t happen.
“The race started full gas and Carpenter was very aggressive – attacking and trying to get into moves,” Alexandre said. “Mannion was on him and never had an issue with it.”
A big move went 30 minutes into the race when a group of 18 took off that had Henderson, Advergay, Cataford and Jones in it. The gap rose to 40 seconds until Rally Cycling started to chase.
The breakaway was caught with six laps to go. Next up was a field sprint that didn’t change anything major on the general classification.
The final stage was five laps of a rolling, hilly circuit with a short, steep climb to the finish.
“The plan was to race aggressive and put pressure in other teams as we had three guys in top six,” Alexandre said. “We did a perfect half of the race until a breakaway got established and we had Luke Keough and Eaton in a 10 rider group.”
The group was caught on the last lap. With 10 km remaining, Peter Stetina attacked which Cataford and Eaton had to neutralize because of his close proximity on GC.
“On last time on steep climb, Carpenter attacked but Gavin reacted quick,” Alexandre said. “From there was 4kms to finish and small attack happened while the men’s race was catching the woman’s race. On last corner, the first men caught the women and the boys sprinted up the climb together with the women creating a really chaotic finish.”
“It was really a great race for us,” Alexandre said. “The team did a perfect job all week. Attacking or defending when was needed. We just got beat by a better rider on the last stage.”
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team heads to the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah next, which starts July 31 and continues until August 6.