A Spaniard with an impressive European racing resume is set this week to return to the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic.
Francisco Mancebo, who won the 2011 Cascade, will seek to defend his title with the help of his teammates on the Competitive Cyclist squad.
Mancebo, 36 and from Avila, Spain, has raced all three Grand Tours, including seven appearances in the Tour de France, where he managed to place in the top 10 an impressive five times. He was awarded the Maillot Blanc (best young rider) in the 2000 Tour de France.
Currently leading the men's individual National Racing Calendar standings, Mancebo is a stage-race specialist who also excels in time trials. At last year's CCC, Mancebo claimed the leader's jersey after the time trial, then hung on to win the overall.
Mancebo was second overall at the Cascade in 2008, when he competed for the now defunct Rock Racing team. He finished fourth in the Tour de France in 2005 and sixth in 2004. In 2006 he was linked to the Operation Puerto doping case — a scandal that involved several of the world's most famous cyclists at the time — and he was not allowed to start the Tour de France that year.
Other pro men's cyclists to watch include Jeremy Vennell of Bissell, who finished third overall in the 2011 CCC. Bend's Ian Boswell (Bontrager-Livestrong) returns to the Cascade after finishing seventh overall in 2011. Another cyclist from Bend, Carson Miller (Jamis-Sutter Home), is also set to race in his hometown this week.
— Mark Morical