Sara Poidevin took the final stage at the Cascade Cycling Classic Sunday, but the Rally Cycling rider failed to overcome the gap to race leader Allie Dragoo (Sho-Air Twenty20), who took an emotional overall win for the team she just lately re-joined.
Dragoo ended the third on the stage behind Poidevan and Emma Grant (Colavita-Bianchi), suitable enough to seal her general classification victory by seven seconds over Poidevin and one minute over her teammate Jasmin Duehring in third. After the race, the tearful Dragoo expressed her gratitude to her team for the effort throughout the week after she took yellow on stage 2.
"My team gave their all for me and I'm really proud of them," Dragoo said. "It means a lot to me how much they worked. I was so anxious and stressed, obviously, because I've never been in this position in a nice stage race like this, and I just owe it to all of them. It's really special to me, especially because it's been a couple years of ups and down, and it really feels good to end the stage race season with a win," said Dragoo, who just re-join the Sho-Air team last month. "I owe it all to my team, so thank you."
As temperatures closing to 100 degrees Fahrenheit only added to the challenge for the race, the 78km stage on the edge of host city Bend, Oregon, offered a saw-tooth profile for the women as they traversed three laps of the circuit. .
The race started aggressively with multiple attacks flying off the front of the field. Nothing could stick, but Rally and Sho-Air continued to pull back the moves. Sho-Air would pull back any Rally attacks, and Rally would pull back almost everything else. Rally slipped Sho-Air's grasp and sent Poidevin and stage 1 winner Kirsti Lay up the road to join the break when the gap was just 18 seconds. Sho-Air immediately recognized the dangerous move and had Dragoo and two other riders fighting to bring it back.
After the top of the first QOM of the day, Sho-Air chased down the move with 20km to go, and the race reshuffled once more. Another group of five built a gap of 20 seconds, but Dragoo and Sho-Air held advantage again, and with 5km to go it was clear the race would come down to the 500 metre finishing climb, where Poidevin made the winning move.
"I was second or third wheel going into the bottom of the final climb, and I just went as hard as I could to the steep pitch.I just tried to go as hard as I could, because that's all any of us could do at that stage. " Poidevin said.
After the finish, Dragoo said she got a little help up the final climb from "the man upstairs."
“She was riding away from me like no big deal, and I was just praying like, ‘Please give me legs. Please give me legs.' Thankfully, I got third and got some seconds, but it was very close.”
Dragoo felt really good and explained the reason of crying is that she didn’t know if she was expected or she just put the expectations on herself to win for once.