Kirsti Lay and Sara Poidevin stormed the 29-kilometer climb up McKenzie Pass to take a spectacular one-two finish in the opening stage of the Cascade Cycling Classic. In addition to claiming the top two spots of the podium, Lay claimed the overall lead and the Queen of the Mountains jersey. For her efforts, Poidevin moved into the lead of the Best Young Rider competition. Sara Bergen completed the team’s sweep of the rider classifications by winning the day’s intermediate sprint and taking the lead in the Points Competition.
Kirsti Lay in the leader's yellow jersey
“It feels great to get the win for the team,” said Lay. “The girls took care of me all day and gave me the best shot at finishing strong. On the final climb, we had a few riders attack to try to put pressure on us. In the final kilometers, Poidevin and Bergen kept the pace high and the front group under control. Allie Dragoo jumped with about 200 meters to go, I got on her wheel before launching my move at 150 meters to go. Tomorrow is the time trial, so we will look to put in some solid performances. There is a lot of racing left, and we have a few riders within striking distance of overall general classification, so it gives us a few options moving forward!"
The women of Rally Cycling took charge early in the stage with Erica Allar, Katherine Maine and Allison Beveridge riding tempo for hours at the front of the peloton. As the pack approached the final climb, Sara Bergen grabbed the day’s intermediate sprint to capture the first green jersey of the race. In the closing kilometers, guest rider Heidi Franz broke clear with another rider. The duo quickly gained 50 seconds, forcing other teams to chase and allowing Lay and Poidevin to stay safely in the slipstream of Bergen and Amy Benner. With three kilometers to go the race came back together, and the counter attacks started. Rally Cycling matched each acceleration and as the line approached Lay and Poidevin powered cleared to finish first and second. The win is Lay’s fourth victory in the span of two weeks after winning the MK Delta Lands Criterium, New West Grand Prix and Tour de White Rock road race.
Sara Poidevin and Lay on the podium after stage one
“Today was a tough stage,” said Poidevin. “When Kirsti accelerated for the line, I fell back to the fourth position but managed to make it back up to second in the last 50 meters. The finale was hard with lots of attacks, but we rode well together and had good communication which allowed us to get the win. Our priority for the rest of the week will be to keep the overall lead, and if in doing so we keep the white jersey, it will be a bonus!”
In the men’s race, Emerson Oronte and Evan Huffman both finished atop McKenzie Pass in the front group of twenty riders, just three seconds down from stage winner Alex Howes, and well within striking distance of the overall lead. Tomorrow Huffman and Oronte will look to take control of the general classification in the 23-kilometer Skyliners Time Trial.
Cascade Cycling Classic Stage One | Women
1. Kirsti Lay (Rally Cycling)
2. Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling)
3. Allie Dragoo (Sho-Air TWENTY20)
4. Margot Clyne (JVelo Cycling p/b The Freewheel)
5. Jasmin Duehring (Sho-Air TWENTY20)
6. Jennifer Valente (Sho-Air TWENTY20)
7. Kaitlin Antonneau (Cylance Pro Cycling)
8. Stephanie Roorda (Sho-Air TWENTY20)
9. Emma Grant (Colavita |Bianchi)
10. Catherine Ouellette (DESJARDINS-FORD)