MITCHELL — Jordan Cheyne is racing in the Cascade Cycling Classic without a team, so he is taking an “all or nothing” approach to the race.
That tack paid off Thursday, as the Canadian rode away from the pro men’s field to win the 100-mile Painted Hills Road Race.
The grueling day included 8,500 feet of climbing along narrow country roads in Wheeler County and, at times, some intense rain.
“It was a dogfight,” said Cheyne, 27 and from Kelowna, British Columbia. “It was a great course. The weather was tough today. But I really enjoyed it.”
Cheyne rides for the Elevate team, but the rest of his squad is racing this week in a criterium event in Washington, D.C.
So Cheyne drove to Bend from Kelowna — some 530 miles — with no teammates, only his wife for support.
“I really love Bend, so it’s worth coming on my own,” Cheyne said.
He finished in 3 hours, 9 minutes, 20 seconds.
Eder Frayre of Team California was second, seven seconds back, and Barry Miller of Pacific Premier Bank took third, also seven seconds behind.
Cheyne now finds himself with the pink leader’s jersey but no team to help him defend.
Chad Hall of Team California is second overall, seven seconds back, and Serghei Tvetcov of Floyd’s Pro Cycling is third, also seven seconds back.
“I’m a climber and time trialist, so I knew I had to make a move on a stage like today,” Cheyne said. “It’ll be hard to defend the lead. The goal coming in was stage results, because it will be hard to defend the overall.”
A group of several riders broke away and gained as much as a seven-minute lead on Thursday.
The Semper Porro team rode at the front of the pack to try to bridge the gap, and the pack caught the leaders about 12 miles from the finish.
Cheyne was in a select group of about 10 riders and he broke away with Frayre, then rode way from Frayre in the final kilometer.
“It was very tactical,” Cheyne said. “There’s only a couple of teams here and nobody wanted to really take control of the race. I’m here alone without a team, so it’s all or nothing for me anyway.”
Cheyne said he will try to ride smart in Friday’s 96-mile Cascade Lakes Road Race, but he knows that some of the bigger teams will make it tough for him to stay in the leader’s jersey.
“If it’s up to the legs, I’ll defend it,” Cheyne said. “But tactically, I could get worked over.”