Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies continue to climb the standings at Oregon’s crown jewel of stage racing, Cascade Classic. After three stages of racing, Haga sits in 2nd overall, eight seconds back, poised to take a shot at the top step.
The second stage of the 34th annual Cascade Cycling Classic, the Crooked River Time Trial, provided the men and women with an opportunity to take back time in the overall standings. Current U.S. Pro Time Trial Champion Tom Zirbel navigated the 27.5 kilometers of rolling terrain on the out and back style course through Prineville, Oregon in a time of 31:17. Zirbel, wearing his Stars and Stripes speedsuit for the first time, placed third on the stage, 18 seconds down of stage winner Serghai Tvetcov (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda), moving into eighth overall on general classification, just 39 seconds back of the race lead.
Chad Haga took advantage of his eighth place result in yesterday’s TT to move up to third place overall in the GC, sitting just 20 seconds out of the race lead and 13 seconds ahead of the always dangerous Francisco Mancebo (5hr Energy p/b Kenda) whom Chad has dueled with throughout the season, having traded blows with the former ProTour rider at Joe Martin Stage Race and Redlands Bicycle Classic earlier this summer.
Haga Climbs Standings After First Mountain Stage
Not content with his position in the GC after the second stage, Chad Haga took advantage of a difficult final climb of the third stage, the Cascade Lakes Road Race, and crossed the finish line in third place. Finishing with the same time as stage winner Serghai Tvetcov, who collected ten second time bonus for the win, Haga also earned himself a four second bonus and moved up another position into second overall behind Tvetcov, just eight seconds back after three stages.
The 92 mile stage, featuring over 3,500 feet of climbing, also saw Jesse Anthony and Tom Zirbel cement their positions in the overall. Anthony, capitalized on a 13th place finish on the stage to move into eighth overall in the GC, sitting just 1:10 back, while Zirbel sits just 1:24 back in 12th overall.
The Orange and Black women came into yesterday’s TT determined to make up ground in the GC standings as well. Brianna Walle and Jade Wilcoxson, whom both call Oregon home, led the way, taking advantage of some home-state crowd support to place 4th and 5th respectively on the stage, just 1:09 and 1:14 off the lead.
As a result, Wilcoxson fought her way up to 16th overall at 10:24. Wilcoxson, racing with a custom-made wrist brace molded specifically so she can grasp her handlebars, which was made following her injury and subsequent surgery following the Nature Valley Grand Prix, regains form after month off.
Janel Holcomb, coming off an exhausting Giro Rosa, placed 12th on the third stage, moving up to 20th in the overall.