July 10/02 9:49 am - Tuft Second at Cascade
Posted by Editor on 07/10/02
Cascade Cycling Classic - Oregon
Men - 165 km
1 Vogels, Hank Mercury 4:05:10
2 Tuft, Svein Prime Alliance s.t.
3 Baldwin, Chris Navigators at 0:05
4 Fraser, Gord Mercury
5 Sayers, Mike Mercury
27 Elzinger, Adrian CDS/Kenwood/WCS all s.t.
Team Saturn Report
The first stage of this five day six stage race was the same as previous years' 102 mile out and back from Bend over the low saddle pass on the side of Mt Bachelor just south west of Bend. What made the race a little more unusual was the extreme heat throughout the day and brutal pace at the beginning of the race. The first 20 miles is a gradual climb up to the pass and not that difficult for most but there were attacks and counterattacks pretty constantly the whole way up causing many to drop off the back of the pack early.
Over the top a group of 20 came together and was almost two minutes clear at the 25 mile mark. All the major teams had good representation but it was too early for most real contenders so only a couple riders were really trying to push the pace in the breakaway. Subsequently the break came back at about the 35 mile mark and a trio escaped shortly thereafter with Saturn's Chris Fisher, Mercury's Vogels and Prime Alliance's Svein Tuft. This was a workable combination with only Navigators missing, so the race was on. Navigators started to chase but made a tactical decision to wait after about five kilometers of tempo riding and pulled the team off the front, thus letting the gap grow rapidly to a maximum of about five minutes at the 65 mile mark.
At this point, Prime Alliance and Navigators started to pull the break back and by the bottom of the climb 16 miles from the finish the gap was down to 2 minutes and then just 50 seconds at the top with 20k to go. As the break started to go uphill Fisher was dropped with severe cramps and Vogels and Tuft forged on over and down the 12 mile descent to the finish. Attacks and counter attacks were constant from the field up and over the climb and down the descent whittling the field down to about 40 riders. They looked to have the two escapees caught with five kilometers to go but with every attack came a hesitation as things were contained by Mercury and Prime Alliance, allowing the two to stay away. In the end Vogels took the win over Tuft with the field in only 5 seconds behind.
There were no time bonuses for the stage so the finish order is the overall General Classification with Vogels and Tuft getting their hard fought five-second gap.