Rally Cycling heads to Silver City, New Mexico with high general classification ambitions for the 31st edition of the Tour of the Gila, April 19 – 23. It is one of the toughest stage races in North America, with three difficult road stages, a time trial featuring 1000 ft of climbing, and one of the hilliest criteriums in the world. Rob Britton, overall winner in 2015 and third last year, will lead the men’s squad and again target overall victory. Britton’s compatriot Sara Bergen will lead the women’s team and look to continue an impressive run of podium finishes.
In a significant change to the race route, the iconic finishing climb to Mogollon will not feature in the opening stage due to flood-damaged roads. Stage one now looks to be one for the sprinters. Without early time gaps in the general classification caused on Mogollon, the leader's red jersey is likely to change hands several times throughout the week, and means the stage three time trial and Gila Monster Road Race will be pivotal in the general classification battle. Still a race for the climbers, expect smaller time gaps and a few surprises.
Rob Britton aims to reclaim his overall title from 2015
“I’m going to the Tour of the Gila this year to win and get back my title from 2015,” said Britton. “There were a few bumps in the preparation last year, getting sick and some travel, that kept me from being in top form. Right now, I feel better than I ever have in the spring and I'm ready to take it back. Tour of the Gila has always been a good stepping stone in preparing for the Tour of California. With the relocation of Gila on the North American calendar, now three full weeks before the start of Tour of California, it is even better preparation. I'm looking forward to it, and hope to get the overall win we missed out on at Joe Martin.”
Lining up next to Britton will be additional general classification threats Matteo Dal-Cin, Adam De Vos, Evan Huffman and Sepp Kuss. All five riders are coming off strong spring campaigns in Europe and look to turn the fitness they gained into victories. Especially motivated for overall victory is de Vos. After winning the prologue at the Joe Martin Stage Race, and holding the leader’s yellow jersey for three days, the overall slipped away in the rain-soaked finale. Veteran Danny Pate will captain Rally Cycling on the roads of New Mexico while Colin Joyce and Eric Young complete the roster. Coming off a sprint win in stage three of Joe Martin, Young will be one to watch for victories in the flat opening stage, the second stage in Ft. Bayard, where he has won twice before, and the criterium.
Caitlin Laroche looks climb high in the general classification
The women of Rally Cycling will look to the Tour of the Gila with momentum from a run of early season success. Sara Bergen leads the squad after a string of podiums that stretches from Arizona to Arkansas. Another threat for the overall is Caitlin Laroche, a strong climber; she will be looking to grab victory in the notorious Gila Monster Road Race. The duo will be joined by Olympic bronze medalist Allison Beveridge, making her return to racing after off-season surgery. Amy Benner and Emma White will both make their Gila debuts and look to ride high in the mountains of southern New Mexico.
“We are sending strong teams to the Tour of the Gila with the intention of winning stages and the overall titles," said Team Director Patrick McCarty. “We had an excellent showing at our first North American UCI event, the Joe Martin Stage Race, and we expect the teams to continue their strong performances. Gila is always a great event, and is another critical step on our way to being in top form for the Tour of California.”
Tour of the Gila
Stage 1: Silver City - Whitewater Mesa (M: 143.4 km / W: 109.9 km)
Stage 2: Silver City - Ft. Bayard (M: 120.7 km / W: 120.7 km)
Stage 3: Tyrone - Tyrone (26 km)
Stage 4: Criterium (M: 69.5 km / W: 43.5 km)
Stage 5: Silver City - Pinos Altos (M: 161.9 km / W: 110.9 km)
Tour of the Gila Men’s Roster
Adam de Vos
Tour of the Gila Women’s Roster