Wilson Wins Cascade Stage For Injured Teammate
Bend, Ore. - Team Type 1's Matt Wilson made good on a pre-race promise to himself to win Thursday's stage of the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic for teammate Ben Brooks.

But as much as Wilson wanted to celebrate his victory in the 78-mile (125.5 km) Three Creeks Road Race, he could not help but think of his fellow Australian, who crashed badly in Wednesday's race.

"My initial feeling was one of happiness of this being all great," Wilson said. "But the first thing you think about is that you don't have the right to be so happy about it when Ben is in the hospital. So I definitely have mixed emotions."

Thursday night, Brooks remained in intensive care in critical, but stable condition.

Team Type 1 Sport Director Ed Beamon, who visited Brooks before and after Thursday's race, said the 29-year-old is showing signs of making steady progress.

"He is breathing on his own now but is pretty heavily sedated," Beamon said.

Wilson not only emerged from a breakaway group of a dozen riders to win his third race of the season, but the 2004 Australian national road champion also took the yellow race leader's jersey from Stage 1 winner Santiago Botero (Rock Racing). Wilson now leads Levi Lepheimer (Astana) by 37 seconds and Santiago Botero (Rock Racing) by 45 seconds. He also holds the lead in the King of the Mountains competition.

Wilson said the sizeable gap - which reached more than four minutes at one point - that he and his breakaway companions enjoyed as the 10-mile final climb began, ensured the winner would come from their group. Wilson greatly benefited from the work his teammate, Valeriy Kobzarenko, did for much of the day.

"Kobzarenko was awesome today," Beamon said. "Once the break got established, BMC and Rock Racing were rolling on the front of the pack but the time gap kept growing. 'Kobza' was in full worker mode until Matt took over."

As all but Thomas Peterson (Garmin-Chipotle) fell back on the mountainous ascent to Three Creek Snow Park, Wilson said he was only thinking of the win, and not the overall race leadership that could possibly go along with it.

"In the last five kilometers (3.1 miles), I probably could have gone a lot faster and gone a lot harder, but my effort was 100 percent to win the stage. The yellow jersey was a bonus," Wilson said. "Now that I have it, I'm not going to sit back and not defend it. But it's going to be virtually impossible to hang onto it tomorrow against such strong time trialists. But there's still a lot of racing to come after that."

Friday is the double-stage day of the five-day, six-stage National Race Calendar event. The 14-mile (22.5 km) Skyliners Time Trial goes off in the morning and the 90-minute Downtown Criterium begins at 7 p.m.