At the Cascade Cycling Classic's final stage, Holowesko-Citadel's Robin Carpenter achieved the lead on the final day by achieving a time bonus at the finish.
Alex Howes (US National Team) took the final-stage victory in Bend and Oregon, but Carpenter in the second place while the six-second time bonus made Alex become past overnight leader. Rally Cycling's Evan Huffman went to the final podium as the second runner-up.
"The last day is hard. It's a good day to take it, a good day to save your bullets. It was definitely stressful. I have to say I was pretty relieved afterwards, but I'm kind of anxious anyway. When I know I'm coming to a race that I can win, then I'm just a head case. So I'm glad I kept it together long enough to win," said Carpenter before the final podium ceremony.
The chaos is caused to mar the finish of the Awbrey Butte circuit race when the men's leaders caught the back of the women's field as they turned onto the final 500-metre climb. Stephen Bassett from the Silber Pro Cycling won the same stage last year.This time he jumped away at the bottom of the climb and opened a gap, but he got tangled up with one of the women about 100 meters from the line and hit the deck hard.
"Bassett, really unfortunately for him," Carpenter said. "I was just a little bit behind and managed to get around. He was definitely going to podium and probably going to win, so that's too bad."
As Bassett held up on the tarmac, Carpenter went up the hill ahead of Howes, who was able to come past him at the line for the stage win when Jelly Belly-Maxxis rider Jacob Rathe finished third. Howes told that the key to the win was the patience at the bottom of the finishing climb.
"I tried to just wait," Howes said. "It's a pretty long finish, 400 metres or 450 or so. I tried to stay a little more conservative at the bottom and see who is moving and shaking. I knew that I just had to be more or less second wheel just before the final bend with 30 metres to go. Then I just hit it."
It was a hot with temperatures nearing 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while the men's peloton averaged close to 43 k/ph over five laps and 130.5km on the notoriously difficult Awbrey Butte course. The stage started with a ballistic pace, but it took more than two laps of the circuit for the first real breakaway to form when seven riders left the bunch. When it was game on for the reduced bunch as riders closed in on the back of the women's peloton, setting up the chaotic uphill sprint the brought down Bassett, it made Howes get his second stage win of the week and launched Carpenter into the race lead. Carpenter got within feet of the stage win, but Howes swooped in at the line.
"I knew I was going to win the overall, and I wasn't too concerned about the stage win," Carpenter said. "It was a good sprint by Alex, and actually, I'm pretty happy to be that close to Alex in an uphill sprint, because he's got some talent there."