The fifth stage of the Cascade Cycling Classic in Oregon finished with victories by Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo / Lifeforce) and Moises Aldape (Team Type I). Racers had to ascend to the finish up to Mt. Bachelor ski resort which challenged even the toughest of the climbers.
"Coming up the climb it was only the five of us," said women's winner Armstrong after collecting her fourth stage win of the race thus far. "I made a really hard attack and no one came with me." Armstrong claimed victory, finishing 30 seconds ahead of Canadians and Aaron's racers Julie Beveridge in second and Felicia Gomez in third. Going into the final stage Sunday, the American Armstrong led the overall ranking with a 2'55" advantage over Christine Thorburn.
In the men's race, Mexican Moises Aldape won his first race of the season Saturday while scoring Team Type 1's second stage win in the race. Aldape won by out-sprinting five breakaway companions in the final few hundred meters of the mountainous finish. The 26-year-old also took the lead in the King of the Mountains classification and was to wear the polka-dot jersey for the final stage Sunday.
Aldape waited for just the right moment to launch a vicious sprint, which quickly closed a gap that Blake Caldwell (Team Garmin-Chipotle) had opened up with an attack of his own in the final 500 meters.
Team Type 1 Sport Director Ed Beamon said he second-guessed Aldape's decision to wait for the final sprint. "It looked like Caldwell was going to win the stage at 200 meters, but at 150 meters Moises went flying by," Beamon said. "He just stayed so calm and collected and composed, it was driving me nuts."
The decision to remain patient for the most decisive moment of the 83-mile (133.5 km) race was an easy one, Aldape said. Caldwell first launched an attack with six miles (10 km) to go that gained him 20 seconds on the breakaway, which at that time included eight riders.
"When Caldwell attacked, Ed told me to "Go, go, go," but I felt confident I could jump across," Aldape said. "So I just waited. I was counting on a little difficulty in the terrain in the last kilometer. As long as I could see him (Caldwell) ahead of me in the last 500 meters, I was confident I could win."
Caldwell faded to finish sixth, while Chad Beyer (Team USA) was second and Bradley White (Successful Living presented by Parkpre) was third. Going into the final stage Sunday, Levi Leipheimer (Astana) was leading the race.
Aldape's team-mate Ben Brooks, who was seriously injured early in the race, remains hospitalized, but has since shown signs of recovery. He is awake and conscious of his surroundings according to Beamon, although the full extent of his injuries, which include head trauma, will not be immediately known.