Monday, May 28, 2007

Ironman Champion Chris Lieto Takes On Cycling's Best At The Mt. Hood Classic

The Stages

Stage 1 - May 29: Panorama Point Prologue, 3 miles
Stage 2 - May 30: Columbia Hills Road Race, 112/84 miles
Stage 3 - May 31: Cooper Spur Circuit Race, 87/66 miles
Stage 4 - June 1: Scenic Gorge Time Trial, 18.5 miles
Stage 5 - June 2: Wy'East Road Race, 87 miles
Stage 6 - June 3: Downtown Hood River Criterium, 1 hour
Fifth Mt. Hood Classic promises epic racing

The 2007 edition of the Mt. Hood Classic starts Tuesday in Hood River, Oregon. Over the course of 6 days, the racers will climb 35,000 feet over 400 miles.

This year's race serves up a new crowning stage that covers nearly 10,000 feet of vertical over 92 miles and finishes on the flanks of Mt. Hood at the Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area.

To add to the challenge, the organizers have reformatted the already epic time trial to make it a point-to-point adventure through the Columbia River Gorge that measures 18.5 miles, during which the riders will face 1950 feet of climbing. Factor in headwinds, diversity of terrain, the strongest pro field in its history, and the scenic splendor of the Gorge and Mt. Hood, and this race is without question an epic one.

In just four years, the organizers have transformed the Mt. Hood Classic from the dream of a few avid racers in the area into an established pro sanctioned race that has been selected as one of the National Racing Calendar (NRC) stops in 2007. Backed by sponsor and community support, the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic attracts some of the strongest riders in North America and abroad.

The event was won is 2006 by Nathan O'Neil (Health Net/Maxxis). O'Neil returns in 2006 with a slightly different squad; he will be facing Mt. Hood stage winner Scott Moninger instead of riding beside him. Besides Health Net, expect strong domestic efforts from Navigators Insurance, California Giant Strawberries, Fordifruitta along with regional teams and even Team Rwanda (a development team of African riders sponsored in part by cycling legend Tom Ritchey who have been competing throughout the United States in 2007).

In addition to the pro/elite racing the event also hosts several different amateur categories. Over 500 riders showed up to race in 2006 making it the largest competitive road or mountain biking event in the Northwest.

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