Words by Travis Dixon, photographs by Angelica Dixon
The Tour of the Gila is a long standing and unique race with its brutal course in the high altitude of the Gila Mountain range of southern New Mexico. Today was stage 3 Dan Potts Memorial Tyrone Individual Time Trial of The Tour of The Gila. The race is 16.2 miles in length, which starts with a cat 4 climb, and a cat 3 climb on the return leg, of the out and back course. Every category of racer rides the identical course – from the Pro’s to Cat 4 racers, men and women.
Not only is it one of the hardest races of the US Pro calendar, it is THE race for amateurs. Nowhere can you race on the same roads as the pros for 5 days.
The remote location, altitude (the city is at 6,000 ft elevation) mountainous terrain, and temperate weather make it an attractive destination for training, any time if the year. The race itself has turned into a key tune up for the Tour of California. And as David Towle, a seasoned US cycling announcer, described the Gila in this way, “The road to France begins at the Gila.” The Gila plays a key role in the early careers of some of the names that you later read about in Europe.
The race is mixed with top tier continental teams along with U23 squads. Last year Janier Acevedo, racing for Jamis in 2013, held the leaders jersey for several days, went on to take third on GC at California and is now riding for Garmin. Phillip Gaimon, riding for Bissell in 2013, took second on GC at the Gila and is now also riding for Garmin.
Despite what you think of the next names, even Lance, Levi, and Chris Horner came to the Gila to get some solid miles in for their Giro and Tour campaigns in ’09 and ’10.. Lance’s presence helped to elevate its ranking on the UCI calendar, where it has remained ever since.
Today, the men’s GC saw a shake up with a young Carter Jones of Optum taking the leaders jersey. The women saw a strong ride from race leader Mara Abbot of United HealthCare, to further solidify her lead.
Tomorrow is the downtown criterium which, true to The Gila’s reputation, is anything but flat. The town turns out in full with parties and crowds over 20,000. It’s a fun day and the racers always put on a good show.
Stage 3 Men’s Results:
1 Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis 0:34:02.46
2 Tom Zirbel (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:00:18.74
3 Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development Team 0:01:10.19
4 Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:01:10.46
5 Gregory Obando Brenes (CRc) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home 0:01:12.26
6 Rob Britton (Can) Team Smartstop 0:01:19.81
7 Kirk Carlsen (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis 0:01:23.84
8 Jim Peterman (USA) Team Rio Grande Cycling 0:01:30.05
9 Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home 0:01:36.36
10 Benjamin Day (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team 0:01:41.25
Men’s GC After Stage 3:
1 Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 7:12:41
2 Gregory Obando Brenes (CRc) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home 0:00:02
3 Rob Britton (Can) Team Smartstop 0:00:10
4 Kirk Carlsen (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis 0:00:16
5 Matt Cooke (USA) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home 0:00:26
6 Daniel Alexander Jaramillo Diez (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home 0:00:38
7 Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development Team 0:01:08
8 Flavio De Luna (Mex) Team Smartstop 0:01:19
9 Will Routley (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:01:26
10 Clement Chevrier (Fra) Bissell Development Team 0:01:28
Stage 3 Women’s Results:
1 Laura Brown (Can) Colavita-Fine Cooking 0:39:25.33
2 Lauren Stephens (USA) Team TIBCO to the Top 0:00:03.93
3 Mara Abbott (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:00:05.09
4 Alison Powers (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:00:09.78
5 Carmen Small (USA) DNA Cycling p/b K4 0:00:39.41
6 Abagail Mickey (USA) Twenty16 0:00:55.73
7 Kaitie Antonneau (USA) Twenty16 0:01:19.01
8 Amy Thornquist (USA) DNA Cycling p/b K4 0:01:20.06
9 Jasmin Glaesser (Can) Team TIBCO to the Top 0:01:20.59
10 Alison Tetrick (USA) Twenty16 0:01:22.53
Women’s GC After Stage 3:
1 Mara Abbott (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 7:28:10
2 Flavia Oliveira (USA) FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore 0:02:15
3 Abagail Mickey (USA) Twenty16 0:02:22
4 Lauren Stephens (USA) Team TIBCO to the Top 0:03:02
5 Carmen Small (USA) DNA Cycling p/b K4
6 Alison Powers (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:03:09
7 Laura Brown (Can) Colavita-Fine Cooking 0:03:14
8 Scotti Wilborne (USA) Team TIBCO to the Top 0:03:40
9 Sharon Laws (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:03:48
10 Katie Hall (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:03:55