Until the final climb from Sisters to the top of McKenzie Pass in Wednesday’s first pro women’s stage of the Cascade Cycling Classic, not much had happened.
But then the Rally Cycling team made the right moves along the twisty road on a windy day and ended up with a stage win and a second-place finish in the 89-mile McKenzie Pass Road Race. The stage took riders from Prineville Reservoir west into the Cascade mountains and to the top of the pass.
Kirsti Lay of Rally launched off the effort of her teammate Sara Poidevin just 200 meters from the finish to win the stage in 4 hours, 19 minutes, 51 seconds. Poidevin hung on for second, five seconds back, and Allie Dragoo of Sho-Air took third, seven seconds back.
“Sara kept attacking and drawing people out,” said Lay, 29 and of Montreal. “With 200 meters to go she drove it into the climb and I jumped off her. It was a really good race and great teamwork.”
A lead pack of about 20 riders made its way up the climb before Poidevin started her attacks.
“There was a pretty big group coming up,” said Lay, who won a bronze medal in track cycling at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the team pursuit. “It started splitting apart and it was important to not get in the wind, because it’s pretty windy up here.”
Poidevin, also Canadian, said she tried to hold on in the wind along the tight turns through the roadside lava rock and into the finish. Lay followed and timed the finish just right after a long day riding across Central Oregon without many moves until the finishing climb.
“It was pretty calm out there,” Lay said. “There wasn’t a lot going on. I think everyone was waiting for that climb and just saving it. It’s a really big week so you don’t want to burn too many matches too early right now.”
Lay said that Rally’s goal is to claim an overall win here, and she noted that the team has many riders who are capable. She said she is confident for Thursday’s Skyliners Time Trial as she looks to add to her advantage in her first CCC.
“It’s incredibly beautiful and I love it here,” she said.
— Reporter: 541-383-0318,