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Powers, Sweeting win Cascade prologue

Alison Powers and Robert Sweeting opened six days of racing in the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday with prologue wins at the BMC Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, Oregon.

The only woman to go under five minutes on the 2.5-mile course at Tetherow Golf Course, Powers (NOW-Novartis for MS) topped all comers with a 4:53. Shelley Olds (Tibco-To the Top) was second, at nine seconds. Laura Brown (Colavita-Fine Cooking) was third, at 11 seconds.

In the men’s race on the same course, Sweeting (5-hour Energy-Kenda) surprised a field of national-level powerhouses when he registered a 4:28. Even more surprising was the runner-up ride by elite amateur Timothy Rugg (Kelly Benefit Strategies-LSV), who was a mere five seconds off Sweeting’s time. Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly-Kenda) was third, at six seconds.

Chad Haga (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), who won the Cascade prologue in 2012 before crashing out of the race the next day, was sixth, at seven seconds.

Powers and Sweeting will wear the Cascade Classic’s overall leaders’ jerseys in the stage 1 Indie Hops – McKenzie Pass Road Race on Wednesday. The race’s first road stage will take in 74 miles, including the 20-mile climb of McKenzie Pass, before an uphill finish at the Three Creeks Snow Park. The Cascade Classic is the sixth stop on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar.