Mark Morical
The Bulletin

Pro stages of the 39th CCC

Thursday, Painted Hills Road Race — 100 miles for pro men; 77 miles for pro women. A brand-new stage and the most scenic and difficult stage of the race. The men face 8,446 feet of climbing and the women 7,194 feet of climbing through the John Day River Canyon.

Friday, Cascade Lakes Road Race — 96 miles for pro men; 64 miles for pro women. Not the same race of years past, as there is no climb toward Mount Bachelor. Course skirts the east side of Crane Prairie Reservoir with a finishing climb of 7 miles to Kapka Butte Sno-park. Includes a 2-mile gravel sector.

Saturday, Sul Fiume Twilight Criterium — 75 minutes for pro men; 60 minutes for pro women. A new venue overlooking the Deschutes River near McKay Park and The Pavilion in southwest Bend that will include a festival for spectators in tandem with the criterium. The course is 0.8 miles with 42 feet of climbing per lap and seven corners. Roads include SW Columbia Street and SW Shevlin Hixon Drive, among others.

Sunday, Awbrey Butte Circuit Race — 2 hours for pro men; 90 minutes for pro women. A twist on the traditional circuit race features a 5.8-mile technical circuit atop Awbrey Butte in northwest Bend with 540 feet of climbing per lap.

TUMALO —

Gord Fraser has participated in numerous Cascade Cycling Classics over the years as either a racer or a team director.

A three-time Olympian with more than 200 career wins, who is now the director of Floyd’s Pro Cycling Team, Fraser knows how crucial it was for the competition to return after a one-year hiatus.

“It’s difficult times for road cycling in North America, so this is the one major spark that road cycling has,” Fraser said. “It’s great to see (race director) Bart Bowen involved, a guy who’s put his heart and soul into cycling, both as a racer and now as a race promoter.”

The 39th CCC started with a bang Wednesday, as the pro men and women competed in the Tumalo Circuit Race along a course that included gravel sections.

Floyd’s Pro Cycling has one of the most talented teams in the race, including two-time CCC champion Serghei Tvetcov. Another Floyd’s team member, Alexander Cowan, won the first of five stages on Wednesday.

The pro fields are smaller than normal for the CCC — 83 for the men and 39 for the women, less than half the size of the fields in 2017 — as the race is no longer sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and some teams could not adjust their schedules to get to the race in late spring that has been historically staged in mid-July.

“We’re really excited to be here,” Fraser said of Floyd’s Pro Cycling team. “It goes a bit against our grain. It’s not UCI; it’s not Pro Road Tour. But it’s the Cascade Cycling Classic. It’s a legendary race, and of course we’re here to support the race as best we can.”

Bowen, who took over the organization of the race and started the CCC Youth Foundation, has made some significant changes to the stages, starting with the gravel sections in Wednesday’s Stage 1. Most riders seemed to embrace the change.

Wednesday’s pro women’s winner Jasmine Duehring, said this was her sixth or seventh CCC and called the event her favorite race of the year.

“I was out here two years ago, and it was great as always,” Duehring said. “So I was sad when it was off the calendar, but it’s come back now and I think it’s better than ever.”

Thursday’s Painted Hills Road Race is an new stage that will include 8,500 feet of climbing for the men and 7,200 feet for the women through dramatic terrain near Mitchell.

Saturday’s brand-new Twilight Criterium will take place in southwest Bend near McKay Park and the Pavilion instead of its traditional location in downtown Bend.

Fraser said that longstanding races like the CCC continuing to be staged is “imperative for the health of the sport.”

He added, “The race was going on when Bend was a very, very small town. To see this town explode into the recreation capital that it is, it’s pretty cool. I think it’s only fitting that they have their professional cycling race back.”

—Reporter: 541-383-0318,

mmorical@bendbulletin.com

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