KAPKA BUTTE SNO-PARK — Peter Stetina had not savored an individual stage win since his U23 days. As a World Tour rider for Trek-Segafredo, he mostly races for his team’s lead riders, which have included the likes of two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.
Friday at the Cascade Cycling Classic, though, Stetina — racing with a composite U.S. national team — saw his chance for a victory in the Cascade Lakes Road Race.
He rode away from two Ecuadorian riders about 2 kilometers from the finish to win Stage 3 of the pro men’s CCC.
“Usually on the World Tour, I’m racing for one of the big leaders like Alberto,” Stetina said in the sunshine at the finish of Friday’s stage off Century Drive near Mount Bachelor. “So it’s fun to rekindle that flame, no matter where you are in the world.”
Stetina, 29 and of Santa Rosa, California, posted a winning time of 3 hours, 50 minutes, 24 seconds in the 107-mile race. Santiago Montenegro of Team Ecuador was second, one second back, and Jefferson Hernandez, also of Team Ecuador, took third, four seconds back.
Gavin Mannion of United Healthcare retained his one-second lead on Robin Carpenter of Holowesko-Citadel in the overall standings.
Evan Huffman of Rally Cycling stayed in third, three seconds back.
Friday’s stage started at Bend’s Summit High School and took cyclists up Century Drive, past several Cascade lakes, and finished with a climb up Forest Road 45 to Kapka Butte.
Stetina said he knew the last couple of miles would be the place to make his move on the finishing climb.
“I knew the last 3K was the only point where it kicks in and stays consistent,” Stetina said. “So many climbs around Bend are shallow and pitchy. We had the boys each take their turn lining it out and keeping it fast. I need a climber’s climb to win. So then I just hit it with the Ecuadorians on the way up. I knew the corners and the finish, and I made sure I shut them down early and held on.”
Stetina, a veteran of six Grand Tours including the 2017 Giro d’Italia, is the son of Dale Stetina, a former U.S. national champion and member of the 1976 and 1980 U.S. Olympic teams. Dale also won the overall at the Cascade in 1983 and 1984.
Mannion was worried when a 10-rider break got away early in the race — and it included Carpenter. But Mannion’s teammate Alexander Cataford was also in the break, and he was in the top five in the overall coming into Friday’s stage.
“It was a little dangerous because Carpenter was there, and he’s second, so I wanted to keep it in check,” Mannion said. “But the team was amazing. They rode the front (of the peloton) all day, and Alex in the break. It was a hard day for everyone, but I’m happy to hold on to yellow.”
Mannion finished with Carpenter in a big group that was 11 seconds behind Stetina, and he will look to maintain his lead for the overall win in Sunday’s Awbrey Butte Circuit Race in Bend, the fifth and final stage of the 38th annual CCC.
“It’s going to be a hard one,” Mannion said. “It always kind of comes down to the wire here. I feel good, so hopefully Sunday goes well.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0318, firstname.lastname@example.org