The final showdown at the Tour of the Gila featured the unrelenting Gila Monster stage. 110 km of challenging terrain and elevation changes situated at 6,000 ft in altitude. Rally UHC Cycling entered the race finale with a stage win on day two with Heidi Franz, a podium with Krista Doebel-Hickok in the Mogollon opener, and three riders in the top ten overall. All that remained was a daunting hilltop finish in Gila National Forest.
In a near mirror image of stage two, Heidi Franz and Abby Mickey made the early breakaway to relieve pressure from the team and their GC leader, Krista Doebel-Hickok. With one rider away late and race leader Chloe Dygert (Sho-Air TWENTY20) being forced to chase, Doebel-Hickok was the only rider strong enough to follow the relentless pace.
With the finish line around the bend and a chasing group about to make contact, Doebel-Hickok threw out a last-minute challenge for the stage victory – attacking with one km remaining and nearly catching the leader of the stage. She crossed the line in second place, and the result moved her up to fourth in the final general classification. Teammate Sara Bergen finished seventh overall.
“I’m proud that I took a risk to head out alone with one kilometer to go,” said Doebel-Hickok. “What makes me happy the most about the stage result is knowing I didn’t give up even when the stage leader was up the road.”
Cycling is very much a team sport and Doebel-Hickok knows the result at the end of the day is thanks to their effort.
“We wanted to send riders up the road and having Heidi and Abby up there was perfect because other teams had to chase,” said Doebel-Hickok. “I’m very happy with how our team is working together. You have each rider giving a complete effort every day.”
The riders now head home to rest for the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race from May 16 – 18.
“I’m really looking forward to TOC,” said Doebel-Hickok. “The opportunity to compete against the best riders in the world on home soil is rare and we will make the most of it.”
Stage 5 results
1 CHAPMAN, Brodie Team TIBCO – Silicon Valley 3:12:55 0:10 0:00
2 DOEBEL-HICKOK, Krist Rally UHC Cycling 3:13:05 0:06 @ 0:10
3 BARROW, Justine HMS 3:13:23 0:04 @ 0:28
4 HERNANDEZ DELGADO, A DURANGO-Specialized-IED 3:13:30 @ 0:35
5 GRANT, Emma Sho-Air TWENTY20 3:13:33 @ 0:38
6 BERGEN, Sara Rally UHC Cycling 3:13:44 @ 0:49
7 DYGERT, Chloe Sho-Air TWENTY20 3:13:53 @ 0:58
8 DUEHRING, Jasmin Sho-Air TWENTY20 ” ”
9 CERRA, Jessica Hagens Berman / Supermint 3:13:58 @ 1:03
10 PITEL, Edwige Femme Equipe p/b Swisse Well 3:14:07 @ 1:12
Final General Classification
1 CHAPMAN, Brodie AUS Team TIBCO – Silicon Valley Ba 11:58:54 00:00
2 DYGERT, Chloe * USA Sho-Air TWENTY20 12:00:01 @ 01:07
3 DUEHRING, Jasmin CAN Sho-Air TWENTY20 12:01:15 @ 02:21
4 DOEBEL-HICKOK, Krista USA Rally UHC Cycling 12:02:05 @ 03:11
5 PITEL, Edwige FRA Femme Equipe p/b Swisse Wellne 12:02:08 @ 03:14
6 GRANT, Emma GBR Sho-Air TWENTY20 12:03:03 @ 04:09
7 BERGEN, Sara CAN Rally UHC Cycling 12:03:38 @ 04:44
8 CERRA, Jessica USA Hagens Berman / Supermint 12:04:21 @ 05:27
9 BARROW, Justine AUS HMS 12:05:46 @ 06:52
10 HERNANDEZ DELGADO, Ana MEX DURANGO-Specialized-IED 12:05:59 @ 07:05