New Mexico’s Tour of the Gila wasted no time in setting up the battle for the overall classification on Wednesday. The opening stage sent the peloton up the infamous Mogollon climb where Krista Doebel-Hickok, winner of the queen stage at the Redlands Bicycle Classic and an overall race favorite at Gila, shredded the peloton on the lower slopes en route to finishing third.
“I went hard from the base of Mogollon and led until there were only two riders left,” said Doebel-Hickok. “When they wouldn’t pull through I kept the pressure on and eventually broke free. With 500 meters to go, I lost some steam and Brodie and Edwige were able to ride past me.”
With such a difficult finale it was important to conserve energy early in the stage. The team rallied around Doebel-Hickok and placed her at the front when it mattered most.
“The team was awesome today, keeping me sheltered into the first part of the climb and Heidi did a phenomenal job leading us across the plateau before the final pitch,” said Doebel-Hickok. “I entered that finishing climb having conserved my energy and ready to expend every bit of it.”
Stage two’s Inner Loop Road Race features close to 6,000 ft of climbing and offers Rally UHC Cycling an opportunity to claw vital seconds back in the overall.
“We’re ready to play and race for the win as we always are,” said Doebel-Hickok. “I rolled the dice on yesterday’s summit finish and sometimes your gamble doesn’t pay off. I’m happy to be pushing myself to the limit and today is another opportunity.”
Tour of the Gila – Stage 1 results
1 CHAPMAN, Brodie Team TIBCO – Silicon Valley 3:33:09 0:10 0:00
2 PITEL, Edwige Femme Equipe p/b Swisse Well 3:33:20 0:06 @ 0:11
3 DOEBEL-HICKOK, Krista Rally UHC Cycling 3:33:31 0:04 @ 0:22
4 *DYGERT, Chloe Sho-Air TWENTY20 3:33:57 0:05 @ 0:48
5 GRANT, Emma Sho-Air TWENTY20 3:34:14 @ 1:05
6 CERRA, Jessica Hagens Berman / Supermint 3:34:34 @ 1:25
7 BARROW, Justine HMS 3:34:40 @ 1:31
8 DUEHRING, Jasmin Sho-Air TWENTY20 3:34:45 @ 1:36
9 BERGEN, Sara Rally UHC Cycling 3:34:53 @ 1:44
10 *MARCOLINI, Emily Team TIBCO – Silicon Valley 3:35:01 @ 1:52