July 22, 2011
Tara Whitten, shown here wearing the race leader's jersey a day after she won the opening prologue of the Cascade Classic, climbed to 3rd on Stage 3 of the Classic, moving up to 5th overall.
Bend, OR – The finishing climb up to Mt. Bachelor to end today’s 3rd stage of the Cascade Classic didn’t cause the big shake-up it could have. But Team TIBCO’s Tara Whitten made the most of the stage, making her way into the decisive break and finishing 3rd on the day to move up to 5th overall.
Erinne Willock of Team TIBCO held her 2nd overall position behind race leader Clara Hughes, remaining just 0:13 behind the Canadian Time Trial Champion heading into the final two stages.
“It was a really aggressive stage from the start, but it took until about mile 45 for a break to finally get off the front,” Team Directeur Sportif Lisa Hunt said.
When the break went, Whitten covered and was joined by teammates Megan Guarnier and Joelle Numainville in what eventually became an 11-rider move. Whitten was the highest placed rider on GC in the group.
“I was happy with the move because it put pressure on the other teams to chase,” Hunt added.
As the break began to fragment at the base of the finishing climb, Rushlee Buchanan attacked, with Whitten and Ali Shanks following. Buchanan held on for the win, with Whitten taking 3rd. Willock finished with the group containing the main contenders 1:09 behind the stage winner. Team TIBCO’s Carmen Small held onto her top-10 position.
“The race is still wide open,” Hunt said. “The criterium can be unpredictable. We have a good sprint team here with Joelle and Jo (Kiesanowski). And Sunday’s circuit race is really hard. I’m still confident we can with this race.”
The Classic continues Saturday with the Downtown Bend Criterium.
Numainville took over the points competition for the race from teammate Carmen Small. She’ll wear the green jersey into Saturday’s criterium.
Kiesanowski won the 2010 edition of the criterium ahead of Numainville.
Photo by Jonathan Devich, Epic Images
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