With the roads still wet for the 1.7 mile course through the downtown streets of Portland, Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) blitzed the 2008 Mt Hood prologue producing an average speed of 37 mi/h (59 km/h). Third from last rider to leave the start gate for the in an out and back course, Jacques-Maynes crossed the line with a time of 2:45, 3 seconds faster than second place finisher Jonathan Garcia (BMC), and third place World B Champion Ivan Stevic (Toyota-United).

"I found the biggest gear I could and muscled it all the way into the line. I think these shorter things just suit me, three minutes of racing does not a week long stage race make, it's a good way to start it and I've got good form, hopefully the week is going to go well. Looking forwards to the Friday time trial." said Jacques-Maynes.

Ben Jacques-Maynes speeds down the course, photo c. Lyne Lamoureux

The Bissell team is ready to defend the jersey. Last year, Jacques-Maynes grabbed the leaders' jersey on the second stage, and held on to it until the time trial. He ultimately finished third on the overall classification.

"I think obviously Ben's got good form and he showed it today, it's a short race but we came off good form after Gila so we're hoping to carry that momentum on and obviously today we're delighted with the performance. Ultimately the goal is to win the tour overall and we can pick up stage wins along the way, obviously we've delighted to do that, so far so good. " said Bissell Directeur Sportif Glen Mitchell.

Joe Martin Stage Race winner Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis) finished five seconds back, as was Toyota-United's Ben Day. Last year's second place finisher, and wearer of the #1 bib, Phil Zajicek (Health Net-Maxxis) is at six seconds behind the leader.

With four riders in the top 10, the Bissell team including second place Gila finisher Burke Swindlehurst, the Bissell team have some cards to play in the upcoming stages. While not officially on the team schedule which means no team support, the BMC team put three riders into the top 10 and are hoping to play off the other team's attacks in the coming stages.

Tomorrow, the men will face a new stage in the Mt Hood stage race, the Mt Tabor Criterium. The men will race 90 minutes over extremely winding course with nearly 135 feet of elevation for every 1.3 mile lap, with time bonuses on the finish line.

Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell), winner

"I did [have fun in Gila] actually. Worked my butt off up at altitude, you saw how it worked out last year for me, I sucked on the climb so the altitude doesn't favor me, the steep climbs, multiple steep climbs, hill top finishes,.... it's a no brainer I've got to get my work in somehow, work early instead of late so help the guys out, Burke [Swindlehurst] had a great ride, do what I can to help support that. It was terrific [to work for my teammate], I get to ride a break, it was fun, different, and also coming out of Georgia into that, got to get my work done, rest up for this, and hopefully the legs are good this week."

"I went to the track on Friday, I was working on my 5k efforts, I did a couple of miss and outs, scratch races, perfect. Hit the power, leave it on and see what happens."

"Burke is still going pretty good, we got a couple of cards to play with some hills, some time trials, I think I'm going to have to good legs but I'm not the only guy for the team, Aaron [Olson] is back on form, he said he's feeling really good. Jeremy [Vennell] said he's over his cold and feeling awesome, he said he was feeling terrible all the Gila and he was on the front, just rocking it, so I can't to see him when he's good."

Jonathan Garcia (BMC), second place

"Luckily, I had teammates go before me and Mike Sayers gave me good advice, he just told me to take it easy going out and basically my race started at the turn, I took my turn wide and then all I had to the line, and it seems to work the best for me. It was just perfect for the day."

"I crashed in Europe, and I crashed in Georgia. Basically I'm done with my bad luck."

"We don't have full team support, the guys that are here we came on our own. It's not a team race, just getting some good fitness in, a few guys are here for training, a few of us are definitely here to race. I'm here to race. It's kind of put us in a good position for the week, for my strengths and for the other guys. [Looking forwards] to the climbing days for sure, definitely Saturday and then hopefully I can have a good time trial as well."

Ivan Stevic (Toyota-United), third place

Ivan Stevic (Toyota-United) powers to the finish, photo c. Lyne Lamoureux

'I have to be honest, I'm surprised, even my team directeur knows that I didn't go for it but it looks like that I feel good, I actually made a mistake on the turn but I cannot complain."

"Good, I have to be happy with it [knee], finally I can go for it. This is a perfect race for me as a preparation for Philly week which I hope to be really good on, and everything that we can do here, we're not going to miss the chance to make it happen. This is my first time here, so everything is new for me, I can hardly wait."

"Basically my problem was coming from my neck which was switching off the lower nerves in my back and I was losing traction of my knee in my left leg, so it was turning off the muscles in my left leg. I didn't have control over my left leg, I was pedaling with one leg basically for some time, I don't know how long, but it brought me to have a knee injury. Now it's good, that's important, it took a while to get to the bottom of the problem but I'm happy that I am here now and I can go for it. "

"We have many card to play. We have a perfect combination of riders here, good climbers, good time trialists, and we have two crits, we have a fast team too. We're going to miss Dominguez with his kid, we're going to try and win the race for his boy. "

Men's podium (l-r): Jonathan Garcia (BMC), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell), Ivan Stevic (Toyota-United)

Top 10 results
1 Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling Team 2.46
2 Jonathan Garcia (USA) BMC Pro Cycling Team 0.02
3 Ivan Stevic (Ser) Toyota-United 0.03
4 Edward King (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling Team
5 Aaron Olson (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling Team
6 Darren Lill (USA) BMC Pro Cycling Team 0.04
7 Matt Crane (USA) Health Net/Maxis
8 Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) California Giant Berry Farms/ Specialized
8 Jeremy Vennell (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling Team
10 Ian McKissick (USA) BMC Pro Cycling Team

Full results here.