The Tour of the Gila Stage 2 – The Inner Loop
The UCI men faced the challenging 76 miles of The Inner Loop. While today’s stage was shorter than Stage 1, there’s more climbing and very demanding descending. The topo details three cat 3 climbs, but the road is never flat so that the riders will total 5781 feet of climbing by the end of the stage.
The UCI men were the first to hit the road today. Their field was noticeably smaller than it was at the start of stage 1 but the riders were eager to race as the officials had difficulty keeping the speed down through the neutral zone. Once the flag dropped, the attacks began immediately. The first bonus sprint is 5.7 miles into the stage and teams had to fight to control and play out tactics for the sprint.
The sprint ended up going to Joseph Lewis of Hincapie Sportswear Development Team, with Steve Fisher of Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, and Daniel Summerhill of United HealthCare Pro Cycling rounding out the top three. Immediately following this sprint is the Cat 3 climb up to Pinos Altos, a tough way to start a stage. The peloton stayed together controlling the attacks on the climb until 1 km to the KOM with Luis Enrique Davila of Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, followed by Daniel Summerhill of United HealthCare, and Taylor Sheldon of 5 Hour Racing p/b Kenda. These three didn’t stop and drove hard into the short technical decent. The constant pressure from the peloton saw numerous riders abandon, obviously feeling the effects from yesterdays stage.
The course changed at this point with the riders facing narrow and very twisty roads, another Cat 3 climb followed by the very fast and technical descent off Wildhorse Mesa. The break worked hard and kept extending their lead over the peloton. As they reached the Mimbres Valley their lead was 4:30. The valley continues to be roads that favor a break but their gap never grew much more than this as Tyler Wren of Jamis-Hagens Berman explained after the stage, “We knew Summerhill was the danger man in the break but our goal was to control the gap and keep our leaders safe and give them as easy of a ride as we could give them today”.
Second sprint went to Summerhill, with Davila and Sheldon taking second and third respectfully. After the sprint the peloton started to chase so the gap steadily fell to around 2 mins by the start of the Cat 3 climb. 1 km from the KOM sprint, Davila attacked and held on to take the KOM over Summerhill and Sheldon but from the peloton two riders attacked. Adam De Vos of Team H&R Block and Stephano Barberi of California Giant/Specialized bridged the now 35 second gap to the leaders making it a break of 5. With under 10 miles to go the break put their heads down and drove the pace hard. They made it to the 3 km sign at which time there was constant changing of teams on the front all trying to set up their riders from the sprint.
Nicolai Brochner of Bissel Development Team took the sprint for with Eric Young of Optum p/b Kelly Benefits and Travis McCabe of Team SmartStop rounding out the top three. It was a hectic finale as Joseph Schmaltz of Hincapie Sportswear Development Team stated, “We tried to get to the front for our guys, but it got messy. Ty (Magner) ended up 5th I think. So, we got organized but it just didn’t go all according to plan.”
Tomorrow is the Time Trial and the riders were eager to get back and prepare for this challenging day.
The Pro Women faced 75 miles on the Inner Loop Course. As with the men, the women’s race started fast with team Twenty16 driving the pace to set up Ali Tetrick for the first sprint. The racing was hectic with Carmen Small of DNA Cycling p/b K4 taking the sprint with Jessica Cerra of FCS/Zngine p/b Mr Restore taking second, followed by Tetrick.
United HealthCare assumed control of the race at this point driving the pace up the Cat 3 climb to Pinos Altos. The QOM went to Flavia Oliviera of FCS/Zngine p/b Mr Restore, followed by Annie Toth of Sisterhood of Cycling, and Sharon Laws of United HealthCare. United continued to control the group as they came to the second QOM, won again by Oliviera followed by Laws and Alison Powers of United HealthCare.
The race was controlled by United and their pace had the women struggling to maintain contact. Any attack that was attempted was short lived. It was obvious that United had a plan for the day and that was to put a stranglehold on the race. Rain and a strong cross wind on the final stretches of the race didn’t make life any easier for the women’s field. The final QOM saw Oliviera take more points with Laws of United and Glaessner of TIBCO rounding out the top 3.
The rest of the stage saw aggressive and fast paced racing with constant attacks but nothing was able to stick. With 1km to go United and TIBCO were on the front but Carmen Small of DNA Cycling p/b K4 took the win. Joanne Kiesnowski and Lauren Stephens, both of TIBCO, rounded out the podium.
It was a hard day of racing for the women. Mara Abbot of United HealthCare held onto the leaders jersey but she will have her hands full for the time trial tomorrow. It should be another interesting day of racing for sure.
UCI Men Results
Top 3 on Stage 2
Nicolai Brochner (BDT)
Eric Young (OPM)
Travis McCabe (TSS)
Town of Silver City Leader’s Jersey: Daniel Jaramillo (JSH)
PNM Sprinter Leader Jersey: Nicolai Brochner (BDT)
Freeport-McMoRayn King of the Mountain Jersey: Daniel Jaramillo (JSH)
Southwest Bone & Joint Institute Best Young Rider: Nicolai Brochner (BDT)