Top US racers line up for inaugural Willamette Valley Classic

While the Tour de Georgia will no doubt take centre stage among US races this weekend, plenty of top...

While the Tour de Georgia will no doubt take centre stage among US races this weekend, plenty of top domestic riders will be in action at the inaugural Willamette Valley Classic Stage Race, April 21-23 in Willamete Valley, Oregon.

Riders rostered for the Willamette Valley Classic include Mike Sayers (Health Net/Maxxis), Adam Craig (Giant), Carl Decker (Broadmark Capital/Hegans Berman) and Svein Tuft (Symmetrics Cycling). The women's field is strong, as well, with more than 50 riders, including Pro 1/2 favorite Leah Golstein of the Israeli national team.

More than 400 men and women are entered in the race's 10 categories for three or four stages, depending on category, over the course of three days, including two road races, a circuit race and a time trial. Total prize money for the event tops $10,000.

The race categories include Pro/1/2 Men, Category 3 Men, Category 4/5 Men, Masters 40+ 1/2/3, Masters 40+ 3/4/5, Juniors, Pro/1/2 Women, Category 3 Women, and Category 4 Women. The Pro 1/2, Masters 1/2/3 and Pro/1/2 Women will complete all four stages; the other categories skip the time trial.

Stage 1, the High Pass Road Race, Friday, April 21, starts in Junction City and travels up into the Coast Range in a hilly 17.5-mile lap.

Stage 2, the Sears Road Time Trial, Saturday April 22, starts and finishes in Creswell, a 17-mile race against the clock.

Stage 3, the Bear Creek Circuit Race, also Saturday, is an up-and-down 5.2-mile lap; racers complete four-to-eight laps, depending on the category.

Stage 4, the Wolf Creek Road Race, Sunday, April 23, is a extremely challenging 56-to-85-mile European-style road race that serves up 4,500-to-7,500 feet of climbing. The Wolf Creek Road Race starts and finishes at the Kings Estate Winery in Lorane, Oregon.

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