Throughout the hot, windy day, and along all the tight corners and sketchy descents, the Floyd’s Pro Cycling Team rode hard at the front of the peloton.
The Floyd’s team helped secure the overall victory in the pro men’s Cascade Cycling Classic for Travis McCabe, who finished sixth on Sunday in the final stage, the Awbrey Butte Circuit Race.
“Floyd’s Cycling just rode like champions,” McCabe said. “We took control early on. We knew what we had to do. They all just rode perfectly, like professionals. If there were any (breakaway) threats up the road that we weren’t happy with, we’d bring them back. We rode the climbs hard enough to where no one wanted to attack.”
Pro men’s riders raced for two hours in Sunday’s Awbrey Butte Circuit Race, a 5.8-mile technical circuit in west Bend with 540 feet of climbing per lap.
Steep climbs and sharp turns near the butte’s summit highlighted the last of the CCC’s five race stages.
Austin Stephens of 303 Project overcame an early flat tire to break away and ride the final three laps by himself to the finish line along NW Three Sisters Drive and take the stage win in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 37 seconds. Barry Miller of Pacific Premier Bank Cycling took second, 15 seconds behind, and Eric Brunner of 303 Project was third, also 15 seconds back.
“There was an early move of four guys that got up the road,” Stephens said. “On the second lap I bridged up to it. I got a flat tire and went back to the peloton (after getting a new wheel from race support). I sat in (the peloton) for a couple laps and then I attacked a second time. There were three riders up the road. I caught them and dropped them.”
Stephens, 26 and of Boulder, Colorado, said his mountain biking background helped with the tight corners and technical descents along the route.
“This was one of the first big stage races I ever did, so it’s a really special race for me,” Stephens said of the Cascade. “To see it coming back (after a one-year hiatus) really excites me. It’s one of the favorite races in the country and I love how the whole community rallies around it.”
The community rallied around McCabe after his criterium victory Saturday night, and a few hundred spectators scattered along Sunday’s route watched him take the overall win.
Zach Nehr of Project Echelon Racing finished second overall, 13 seconds behind McCabe, and Alex Hoehn of Aevolo took third overall, 38 seconds back.
“A course like this suits me really well and all our guys are so strong,” said McCabe, 30 and of Prescott, Arizona. “We made sure we rode it safe and didn’t take any unnecessary risks. It was a great course. It was fun. It was hard.”
McCabe said that the CCC is a relatively small race for a top domestic team like Floyd’s, but it is important to the squad, he explained, because Bend’s Worthy Brewing, the main sponsor of the CCC, is also one of the team’s sponsors.
“It’s a smaller race than what it used to be, but for us, it’s a big race, and it matters,” McCabe said. “So we wanted to come out here and dominate, and I think we did that.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0318,