With HTC-Highroad committed to racing in Europe, the final race of the Women's Prestige Cycling Series offers opportunities to move up in the standings to several riders when the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic begins Tuesday.
HTC-Highroad leads the Women's Prestige Cycling Series individual (Amber Neben) and sprint (Chloe Hosking) categories and sits atop the team standings.
Erinne Willock (Team TIBCO/To The Top) is one of those riders looking to improve in the standings. Sitting second in the individual classification, she finished third at the Cascade Cycling Classic a year ago.
"It's a good race for me because I like the hills and I can do a good time trial," Willock said. "But it's hard, too, because it's at a little bit of altitude and it's hot and there are a lot of hard stages. But I am looking forward to it."
There is a three-way tie for second in the Series sprint competition. Two of those riders will be at Cascade: Heather Logan-Sprenger and Leah Kirchmann, teammates on Colavita Forno D'Asolo. With HTC-Highroad in Europe, one of these riders is likely to take the sprinter's crown.
In the best young rider category, Denise Ramsden (Team Juvederm-Specialized-Mazda) is also not on the start list for Cascade, opening the door for Kasey Clark (Primal-Map My Ride), who is coming off a week at the USA Cycling National Talent I.D. Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"I'm hugely hoping to improve my performance at Cascade this year," Clark said. "My time at the Olympic Training Center was amazing. I'm hoping I can rest up from the travel and be ready."
With 31 previous editions, the Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, Oregan, is the longest consecutively run elite stage race in the country. The six-day National Racing Calendar event features a prologue, two road races, an individual time trial, a twilight criterium and a circuit race.