Men’s race

A well-timed attack just two kilometers from the finish saw Matteo Dal-Cin claim victory for his new Rally Cycling team.

The Canadian 26-year-old took advantage of a brief lapse in the field’s organization and held his effort to the line. Daniel Jaramillo (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) finished second while Dal-Cin’s teammate Colin Joyce took third place.

No longer finishing on the summit of Mogollon because of bad road conditions, the new 143.3km route from Silver City to Whitewater Mesa still offered more of a challenge than many expected. Similar to the outcome of the women’s race, Dal-Cin made his move when his teammates swarmed the front of the peloton.

“The team led into the bottom, it’s was great because we had four guys there at the bottom,” Dal-Cin said. “We were just marking guys that were attacking, just as we crossed the cattle guard to come into the flat section. It kind of eased off a little bit, so I took that chance to attack because it was all of my teammates up front so they let me go. They patrolled behind and I just gave it my all right to the finish.”

The start of the 31st edition of Tour of the Gila wasn’t without action. Teams took turns sending riders off the front, but a combination of headwind, terrain and fresh legs denied anyone a chance until after Alex Hoehn (Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling) won the first bonus sprint 30 km in. Countering the intermediate sprint, Conor O’Brien (H&R Block Pro Racing) dangled off the front solo for a few miles before being reeled back in by UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling and Rally Cycling.

O’Brien’s teammate Marc-Antoine Nadon countered around 50 km into the race and established a healthy gap, eventually helped along by Canyon Bicycle teammates Chad Beyer and Michael Burleigh who saw their chance and quickly bridged across to the H&R Block rider.

The three worked well together over the course of the race, building up a lead of more than six minutes through the second sprint, won by Nadon.

After the intermediate sprint, Nadon left the break leaving the two Canyon teammates to forge ahead alone. With the gap slowly disintegrating at around 50 km left in the race, Burleigh also called it quits.

Beyer put up a hard fight but was caught with 10 km left in the stage. After that, Jelly Belly and Rally Cycling took charge on the front, setting a high pace that discouraged any brave souls from attempting an escape.

From there, the race reset with the big names jockeying for pole position with 5 km to go. It was the Rally team who got the upper hand over main rivals UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, with six of their riders making up the top ten.

Tomorrow’s stage starts at Fort Bayard at 9am MDT. The 122.6 km loop will feature more than 5,700 feet of climbing.

UCI Men’s Stage 1 Results
UCI Men’s GC after Stage 1
Men’s Points Classification Results Stage 1
Men’s Points Classification GC
Men’s BYR Classification Stage 1
Men’s Team GC Stage 1

Women’s race

Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) narrowly won the first stage of the 31st edition of the Tour of the Gila after launching a last minute solo flyer just 5k from the finish.

The 30-year-old from Oakland, California barely clung to her slim 10-second advantage while behind her, teammate Ruth Winder and Sara Bergen (Rally Cycling) charged to the line finishing second and third, respectively.

Tayler Wiles (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) took fourth and Krista Doebel-Hickok (Cylance Pro Cycling) rounded out the top five.

“We had a really good game plan today,” Hall said after the stage. “We had three riders at the front making the pace hard and fast before the climb. My job was to attack and see if I could hold it to the end. I knew there were three other fast sprinters behind me, like Ruth Winder. I felt lucky I could hold it to the line.”

Wind factored heavily in the 109.9km race from Silver City to Whitewater Mesa, creating a relatively quiet race for the 63 starters. A consistent headwind for the majority of the route discouraged teams from forcing an early breakaway.

“I thought the race was going to be a little more aggressive than it was,” Hall said. “It was hard with the downhill headwind, no one wanted to do anything, but it was okay for us.”

As expected, a modified route that excluded the famous Mogollon climb meant the time bonus opportunities were hotly contested. The first sprint came 30 km into the race and was won by Lauren Stephens (TIBCO). Second went to Lizzie Williams (Supermint) and Brianne Walle (TIBCO) claimed third.

The three riders added 3, 2 and 1 second to their GC time. Almost 30 kilometers later, Jamie Gilgen (Rise Racing) collected the 3-second bonus, followed by Winder and Stephens who scooped up 2 and 1 second collectively.

The intermediate sprints also offered sprint points. Hall sits first in that classification followed by Winder who will wear the green jersey tomorrow.

On the approach to the base of Mogollon, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling turned up the heat and brought four of their riders to the front to push the pace.

From there, Hall saw her moment and attacked towards the top of a long drag before the road plateaued onto Whitewater Mesa. Gaining 15 seconds was all Hall needed to take the win ahead of her teammate, Winder.

Heading into tomorrow’s Fort Bayard Inner Loop Road Race, Hall sits two seconds ahead of Winder on the general classification, while Bergen trails six seconds back.

Starting at 10:40am MDT, the pro women will set out on 74.1mi (119.3km) loop with 5,854 feet (1,784 m) of climbing. Two bonus sprints and three Category 3 QOMS will also be on offer.

Women’s Stage 1 Results
Women’s GC after Stage 1
Women’s Points Classification Results
Women’s BYR Classification Stage 1
Women’s Team GC Stage 1

Photo and content provided by Tour of the Gila