Pro stages of the 39th Cascade Cycling Classic

Wednesday, Tumalo Circuit Race — 63 miles for pro men; 47 miles for pro women. A 15.5-mile mostly flat, rolling circuit through Tumalo with two gravel sectors, one of 3 miles and one of 1 mile. (For spectators, best viewing is at Tillicum Park off Couch Market Road.)

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. (Best viewing is in Mitchell and 7 miles north at the finish.)

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. (Prime viewing spot is during the climb along Forest Road 45 to the finish.)

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. (Lots of viewing opportunities near The Pavilion, McKay Park and throughout the area.)

Sunday, Awbrey Butte Circuit Race — Two 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. (Best viewing is during steep climbs along Iowa Avenue, Three Sisters Drive and other streets on Awbrey Butte.)

More information: cascade-classic.org

After a one-year hiatus, the Cascade Cycling Classic has changed significantly, as it will be staged in late spring instead of midsummer and will feature all new stages for its 39th edition this Wednesday through Sunday.

But one thing about the CCC has not changed: It will still include some of the top cyclists from around the country and North America.

While the race is no longer sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and some top-level teams could not adjust to the schedule change to fit the race onto their calendars — the CCC was long staged in mid-July — some of the best domestic cycling teams will still be racing in Central ­Oregon this week.

“We won’t have Rally Cycling and some of the teams that are racing in Tour of California, for instance,” said CCC race organizer Bart Bowen.

“But we do have some of the other domestic pro teams. I think the level of racing will be very, very high still. But right now we’re getting back on the calendar and trying to give juniors and amateurs a chance to experience the race. As we build momentum I think that pro level will come back up.”

According to Bowen, the CCC was canceled in 2018 because there was not enough time to plan the event after the race changed ownership and format.

For the pro men, the Floyd’s Pro Cycling team — operated by former Tour de France rider Floyd Landis — is bringing a strong team with two top riders: Serghei Tvetcov of Moldova and Travis McCabe, of Prescott, Arizona.

Tvetcov won the overall title at the Cascade Classic in 2013 and 2014, and McCabe finished second in the first stage of the Tour of California — the most prestigious road cycling race in the U.S. — earlier this month while racing for a composite U.S. national team.

“He had a pretty stellar Tour of California with that (first-stage) result,” Bowen said of McCabe. “I would expect to see those two leading their team.”

Cory Lockwood, of Tehachapi, California, who rides for the Semper Porro team, is another contender for the overall Cascade victory. Already this season, Lockwood has won the overall at the Redlands Bicycle Classic in Northern California and the Valley of the Sun race in Southern California. He is also the reigning U.S. elite time trial champion, although the CCC will not include a pro time trial this year.

“They’ve had some good results in Cascade-level stage races,” Bowen said of Semper Porro.

Other noteworthy men’s teams in the CCC field this week include the U23 Aevolo team and the LUX Cycling U19 development team. The LUX team of juniors is directed by Roy Knickman, a 1984 Olympic bronze medalist and former USA cycling national team coach.

On the women’s side, Bend’s Jennifer Luebke will be racing with the Twenty20 team, which competed in the Tour of California women’s race. Beth Ann Orton, also of Bend, is another top rider expected to race in the CCC.

The LUX women’s team will feature juniors at the Cascade as well, according to Bowen.

Bowen said the gravel sector in Wednesday’s Tumalo Circuit Race and the significant climbing in Thursday’s Painted Hills Road Race could help decide the early overall leaders in both the pro men’s and women’s races.

“We did bring a lot of new stuff to the race this year, and I think the very first day, with the gravel sector they’ll hit multiple times, will be a very interesting stage,” Bowen said. “I think there could be some splits that very first day that are surprising. A big, strong rider who has some skills on the dirt could come to the forefront.”

The Painted Hills race includes 8,500 feet of climbing for the men and more than 7,000 feet for the women.

“That might be a switch-up completely from the day before,” Bowen said. “Every day really offers the opportunity for some significant changes in the race.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0318,

mmorical@bendbulletin.com

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