Allie Dragoo knew she had to keep her sights on Sara Poidevin all day.
She did just that in a close finish to the pro women’s Cascade Cycling Classic on Sunday. Poidevin, of Rally Cycling, attacked on the final climb to win the stage, but Dragoo, of Sho-Air Twenty20, stayed just close enough to finish third and maintain her overall lead to win the CCC title.
The pro women’s Awbrey Butte Circuit Race included three laps of a 17-mile route through west Bend and Tumalo for a 49-mile race.
“It was a short, hard day that seemed very long,” said Dragoo, 27 and of Grand Rapids, Michigan. “Honestly, they (Poidevin and teammate Kirsti Lay) attacked when I wasn’t expecting on the second feed-zone climb, which was actually a really good move. We had to chase for a long time.”
As her teammates worked hard under a hot midday sun to bring Poidevin back, ultimately, it was up to Dragoo on the final quarter-mile climb up Summit Drive to the finish at Central Oregon Community College.
“The girls put in 100 percent effort, and it was nice,” Dragoo said. “And then, it was up to me, and it was scary. I’ve never been in that position. Poidevin kicked really hard a few times, and she’s a very good climber. It certainly hurt me, and I was nervous, but I just kept praying, ‘Give me my legs.’”
Poidevin just barely edged Emma Grant of Colavita at the line to win the stage in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 51 seconds. Dragoo was third, three seconds back.
Dragoo won the overall title by seven seconds over second-place Poidevin. Jasmin Duehring of Sho-Air Twenty-20 finished third, one minute back. Bend’s Jennifer Luebke, of Visit Dallas DNA, took fourth overall, 2:13 back.
In a cluster of a finish, the pro women’s and men’s riders finished together after a crash in the Cat 2/3 men’s race delayed the women’s start.
“I didn’t quite understand,” Dragoo said. “I wasn’t sure if they (the pro men) had another lap to go or what. They (race officials) moved us to the left side of the road. I heard all this screaming at the finish. That’s just a mess. But this course is so hard, I’m not surprised it happened.”
Poidevin, 21 and of Canmore, Alberta, was impressive all week. She finished second overall, won Sunday’s stage, and also claimed the polka dot jersey as best climber and the white jersey as best young rider.
“The final climb, everyone just went as hard as they could from the bottom,” Poidevin said. “The last 50 meters, I just had a little bit extra. I gave it all I had, and it was a super-close finish. I’m really happy to come away with the win after my teammates did so much good work today.”
During her post-race interview, Dragoo took time to give a shoutout to those in Bend who provide host housing for the CCC riders, and for those who last week donated to make the Cascade women’s prize purse equal to the men’s.
“Oh my gosh, that’s so special,” Dragoo said. “I don’t think people really understand how much that means to us. This is my job, and this is my income, so it’s really special.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0318, firstname.lastname@example.org