Tour of Juneau newcomer Scott Stevens left no doubt about his claim to this year's Tour title Sunday, breaking away from the pack at the end of the road race for a convincing victory in the third and final stage.
Stevens, of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, won all three stages and took the men's Tour title with 189 points. Julian Deiss of Juneau took second place with 160 points, followed closely by Brent Peters of Sitka, who finished with 158 points.
Juneau's Tara Jeans, who competed in the full Tour of Juneau event for the first time this year, was the top women's finisher in all three stages and won the women's Tour title with 180 points. Sheila Good was second with 161 points.
Stevens won the Tour de Whitehorse two weeks ago and the Tour of Anchorage last week, so his Juneau win gave him an unofficial "triple crown" of Alaska-Yukon cycling events. As a solo rider, he finished second in the Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay in June.
He said the Tour of Juneau will probably be his last race this summer, since he'll be heading back to college next month. While Stevens said he was not sure if he'll return to Juneau for next year's Tour, he did say that he'll take home a lot of good memories.
"It's lots of fun racing in the smaller events," he said. "These events are more fun because you get to know the people you're racing with."
The Tour of Juneau started Friday with a hill climb at Blueberry Hills, and Saturday's second stage was a time trial on North Douglas Highway. Both had staggered starts, with riders departing every 30 seconds.
Sunday's 37.5-mile road race was a mass-start, pack-racing stage. The race course started at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal, went out to Mile 33 Glacier Highway, turned around and returned to the Auke Village Recreation Area via Glacier Highway and Lena Loop Road. The stage featured three primes (pronouonced "preems") - bonus sprints where racers could pick up extra points in the overall standings.
While Saturday evening's forecast called for a deluge Sunday morning, riders found cloudy - but dry - skies and damp roads for the stage.
The lead riders stayed in a close-knit pack for the majority of the race, with individuals or small groups periodically taking small leads, then merging back into the mass of riders. Stevens said he decided to break out from the pack shortly after the last extra-point sprint at Peterson Creek, about 10 miles from the finish line.
"I could see it turned uphill and I figured I might as well start giving it (my all)," he said.
Stevens won the stage with a time of 1 hour, 38 minutes, 58 seconds, well ahead of the 17-member main pack's time of 1:40:45. Deiss took second place in the stage, with Terry Ward third, Joe Sorenson fourth and Hans Moser fifth, all with the pack time.
Stevens said the wet roads raised times slightly, but were not much of an obstacle.
"It made it a little slow and a little cooler, but it wasn't too slippery," he said.
Gusty winds on hilltops and along shoreline-exposed stretches of Glacier Highway did present some challenges, Stevens said.
Jeans, who in past years had competed in the first two stages but never the road race, hung with the main pack almost the entire stage and finished in 1:41:31.
"I rode the whole way with the pack and lost them on Lena (Loop Road) at the first hill," she said.
Sunday's stage was one of the first road races that Jeans ever competed in. Ritchie Sonner and Cheryl Levitt, both of Juneau, tied for second place among women as both posted times of 2:01:47. Good took fourth place in 2:11:32.
Juneau Freewheelers Club President Dave Ringle, who finished eighth in the road race and 13th overall, said the road race involved strategy and alliances that cannot be used in individual stages.
"It was an interesting technical race," Ringle said. "Juneau riders were riding for Juneau, Whitehorse riders were riding for Whitehorse. ... That's part of the road race - people working together. There was a great group of riders who stuck together. Young riders were learning to pace line.
"Road races are fun because everyone is working together and deciding how fast you're going to ride."
Juneau's Ryan Siverly, 15, completed all three stages in his first Tour of Juneau. Siverly, who works at Mountain Gears bike shop, usually rides mountain bikes but heard about the race and decided to give it a try - not necessarily for time, but more for personal accomplishment.
"I decided I would do it as something for myself," he said.
Siverly hung with the pack much of the way during Sunday's stage, and said he enjoyed his first taste of the Tour.
"I'll definitely try to do it every year and push myself harder and harder," he said.
Ringle said riders like Siverly indicate a promising future for Juneau cycling events.
"It's sort of a changing of the guard," he said. "The traditional powerhouse Juneau cyclists are now running the race ... and it speaks well for the (Juneau Freewheelers) club that we've got new blood, young riders getting out and learning."
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOUR OF JUNEAU
Final results of Tour of Juneau cycling race held Friday through Sunday by the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club. Listed are the final overall point standings, plus the results of Sunday's 37.5-mile Auke Rec Long Course Road Race stage. Ties in the overall point standings are broken by best overall time.
Final overall point standings
Men - 1. Scott Stevens, 189 points (includes 60 points per stage victory and nine points for placing in three midrace primes in Sunday's stage); 2. Julian Deiss, 160; 3. Brent Peters, 158; 4. Mike McCann, 138; 5. Daniel Sessford, 138; 6. Joe Sorenson, 130; 7. Dave Harju, 127; 8. Chris Scholes, 127; 9. Jerome McIntyre, 124; 10. Steve Box, 124; 11. Hans Moser, 123; 12. Bryan Bollinger, 121; 13. Dave Ringle, 119; 14. Terry Ward, 119; 15. Rob Welton, 115; 16. Bill Curtis, 109; 17. Evan Twelker, 106; 18. Frank Rue, 105; 19. Jan Kriegal, 102; 20. Ryan Siverly, 97; 21. Jeff Donaldson, 96; 22. Karl Twelker, 92; 23. Chris Chiles, 85; 24. Greg Pease, 65; 25. Heath Jabs, 48; 26. Dale McFarlin, 43; 27. Fritz Moser, 40; 28. Dennis Travis, 36.
Women - 1. Tara Jeans, 180 points; 2. Sheila Good, 161; 3. Ritchie Sonner, 106; 4. Cheryl Levitt, 103.
Auke Rec Long Course Road Race
Men - 1. Scott Stevens 1:38:58; 2. Julian Deiss, 1:40:45; 3. Terry Ward, st (same time); 4. Joe Sorenson, st; 5. Hans Moser, st; 6. Daniel Sessford, st; 7. Brent Peters, st; 8. Dave Ringle, st; 9. Evan Twelker, st; 10. Bill Curtis, st; 11. Rob Welton, st; 12. Dave Harju, st; 13. Dave Pusich, st; 14. Jerome McIntyre, st; 15. Frank Rue, st; 16. Mike McCann, st; 17. Steve Box, st; 18. Bryan Bollinger, st; 19. Ryan Siverly, 1:48:58; 20. Chris Scholes, 1:49:09; 21. Jan Kriegal, 1:51:11; 22. Jeff Donaldsen, 1:55:41; 23. Karl Twelker, 1:56:05; 24. Greg Pease, 1:59:18; 25. Dennis Travis, 2:48.41 (3 flats).
Women - 1. Tara Jeans, 1:41:31; 2. tie, Cheryl Levitt, 2:01:47; 2. tie, Ritchie Sonner, 2:01:47; 4. Sheila Good, 2:11:32.
Bonus primes (scored on 5-3-1 basis) - First sprint: 1. Julian Deiss; 2. Scott Stevens; 3. Steve Box. Second sprint: 1. Scott Stevens; 2. Brent Peters; 3. Julian Deiss. Third sprint: 1. Brent Peters; 2. Julian Deiss; 3. Scott Stevens.