Tour of the Gila 2022 Stage 2: De Crescenzo takes commanding lead; Stites Takes Men’s Stage Win

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De Crescenzo takes commanding lead for UCI Women at Tour of the Gila after Stage 2

SILVER CITY, New Mexico (April 28, 2022) Lauren De Crescenzo (Cinch Cycling) rode away from the UCI Women’s field at Tour of the Gila Thursday and didn’t see her competition for 67 miles until they crossed the finish line, causing a shake-up in the overall standings and putting riders on notice that she’s the one to beat.

The 31-year-old now has the red leader’s jersey and a significant time gap of two minutes and 32 seconds going into the race’s midpoint.

“Today was good training for Unbound,” De Crescenzo said. “I’ve done the Gila I think two other times, this is seven years ago, eight years ago, and it’s amazing to come back and take the win on the Inner Loop.”

De Crescenzo suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2016 when she crashed at the San Dimas stage race in California but worked hard toward recovery and getting back on the bike and into top form. She has since won several national endurance gravel races including Unbound and SBT GRVL. She credited her teammates for setting her up for victory.

“I had some bad luck yesterday at the base of the Mogollon,” De Crescenzo said. “I had to get a spare bike because my bike kind of exploded, and I had to get out on the course today, because I was pretty angry from yesterday. I came into it super motivated, and my team was behind me all night, all race. And I felt good out there. It was very, very difficult, but compared to something like the 200-mile races, it was easier to conceptualize, ‘oh, I have 20 miles to go, that’s not that far’.”

When the race kicked off, teams endured an extended neutral period due to one rider having a mechanical during the rollout, which gave them only four miles to get organized before the first sprint.

DNA Pro Cycling Team, looking to protect their green jersey leader Maggie Coles-Lyster from Canada, led out the first intermediate sprint, delivering Coles-Lyster across the line first, with Emma Langley (Team EF Foundation TIBCO-SVB) and Daphne Karagianis (DNA Pro Cycling Team) getting second and third, respectively.

The pace stayed high after the first sprint, stringing the group out toward the turn to Pinos Altos, and De Crescenzo decided to make her move – at just seven miles in.

Lauren De Crescenzo rides away from her competition in Stage 2, 2022 Tour of the Gila. Photo courtesy of the Tour of the Gila.
A group of riders chases De Crescenzo in Stage 2, 2022 Tour of the Gila. Photo courtesy of the Tour of the Gila.

Langley reacted, getting as close as five seconds to De Crescenzo before hitting the base of the first queen-of-the-mountains climb. Langley fell to 45 seconds behind. Krista Doebel-Hickok (Team EF Foundation TIBCO-SVB), took third-place QOM points, and Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M Cycling Team) from Canada landed in fourth on the QOM. Doebel-Hickok had a 21-second overall general classification lead with Marcolini in second heading into Stage 2, while De Crescenzo was two minutes and 58 seconds behind first place for GC and in 13th place.

But De Crescenzo’s attack on the first major climb made the selection in the main field, which whittled down to about 15 riders, representing much of the peloton: Team EF Foundation TIBCO-SVB, Pato Bike, 3T/Q+M Cycling Team, DNA Cycling Team, Instafund Racing, Amy D Foundation and Cinch Cycling.

The first descent through the Gila National Forest split up the field and the chasers, and Langley closed the gap to De Crescenzo to 20 seconds. Anet Barrera (DNA Cycling Team) from Mexico also started a solo pursuit.

By mile 21 and the second QOM, De Crescenzo’s lead had grown to two minutes and 15 seconds. Langley was one minute and 45 seconds ahead of the main field, and Barrera had been re-absorbed, but crossed the line in third for the QOM. Doebel-Hickok took fourth.

The pursuit for QOM points split apart the chasers and left a group of 10 to pursue De Crescenzo. The long, twisty descent saw De Crescenso’s gap grow to three minutes and 25 seconds when the field came through the second intermediate sprint. Diana Carolina Peñuela (DNA Cycling Team) picking up second-place points with Langley in third.

Lauren De Crescenzo crosses the line with a hefty lead on GC. Stage 2, 2022 Tour of the Gila. Photo courtesy of the Tour of the Gila.
Doebel-Hickok moves into second place for GC. Stage 2, 2022 Tour of the Gila. Photo courtesy of the Tour of the Gila.

Wind started to pick up as the field hit the flats, but De Crescenzo only drove her gap out larger. Team EF Foundation TIBCO-SVB chased hard to try to keep Doebel-Hickok in the leader’s jersey, but the gap remained at three minutes at the base of the last QOM of the day.

With 25 kilometers to go, Langley drifted back from the chase group, and the gap grew to five minutes through the last QOM. Doebel-Hickok was second over the top, Peñuela took third, and Kira Payer (DNA Cycling Team) took fourth. 

“We tried rotating through the valley, but the wind was picking up and making the [turn onto the] feed-zone climb,” said Maddy Ward (InstaFund Racing). “We were gaining on her a little bit, but the descent back down to Fort Bayard was so windy that everyone was like, ‘she’s gone’.”

De Crescenzo’s headed back toward Fort Bayard and drove hard through the finish to maximize her time to a two-minute-and-32-second overall lead on the field and into the red leader’s jersey. Doebel-Hickok crossed the line in second, and Ward took third.

De Crescenzo extends her lead in her solo victory in Stage 2, 2022 Tour of the Gila. Photo courtesy of the Tour of the Gila.

De Crescenzo’s long solo day also mopped up enough sprint points to take the green jersey. Barrera’s brave climbing and chasing gained her the white jersey for best young rider, and Doebel-Hickok retained her queen-of-the-mountains polka dot jersey.

“I went out really enthusiastically for the stage and knowing it would be a good day to steal the best young rider jersey,” Barrera said in Spanish. “Our goal is always for the general classification for Diana Carolina, but the stage ended up with us getting the white jersey, and I’m happy for that because it’s a way I also can represent our team.”

Tomorrow’s 16.15-mile Tyrone Individual Time Trial likely will shake up things for the overall standings as teams prepare to strategize for the final two days of racing.

“My teammates were super strong, and congrats to the winner,” Doebel-Hickok said. “She obviously has really great form right now, and I’m nothing but grateful for how my teammates rode. I don’t think we made any mistakes; she just had a really impressive ride. We came to play every day and give our best. That’s what we’ve been doing, so I’m really proud of the girls.”

Women's Stage 2 results:

  1. Lauren De Crescenzo – Cinch Rise
  2. Krista Doebel-Hickok – EF Education – Tibco SVB
  3. Maddy Ward – Instafund Racing

GC Standings After Stage 2:

  1. Lauren De Crescenzo – Cinch Rise: 6:35:59
  2. Krista Doebel-Hickok – EF Education – Tibco SVB: 6:38:31
  3. Austin Killips – Amy D Foundation: 6:39:34

QOM Standings After Stage 2:

  1. Krista Doebel Hickok – EF Education – Tibco SVB: 21 pts
  2. Lauren De Crescenzo – Cinch Rise: 15 pts
  3. Emily Marcolini – 3T/Q+M Cycling: 13 pts

Sprinter’s Jersey After Stage 2:

  1. Lauren De Crescenzo – Cinch Rise: 20 pts
  2. Maggie Coles-Lyster – DNA Pro Cycling Team: 13 pts
  3. Krista Doebel-Hickok – EF Education – Tibco SVB: 12 pts

U25 After Stage 2:

  1. Anet Barrera – DNA Pro Cycling Team: 6:42:13
  2. Kira Payer – DNA Pro Cycling Team: 6:43:47
  3. Kyleigh Spearing – Cinch Rise: 6:51:21

Team Classification After Stage 2:

  1. DNA Pro Cycling: 20:04:41
  2. EF Education – Tibco SVB: 20:08:34
  3. Instafund Racing: 20:25:54

Sprint finish for UCI Men’s Tour of the Gila Stage 2 keeps Roed in red jersey, but mid-race action reveals it’s still anyone’s race

An action-packed UCI Men’s Stage 2 Tour of the Gila on Thursday made for some finish-line fireworks with Tyler Stites (Project Echelon Racing) sprinting into Fort Bayard for the win and a time bonus of 10 seconds, but the top three overall leaders stayed put, for now.

Stites, the recent Redlands Bicycle Classic overall winner, inched a tiny bit closer to the red overall leader’s jersey, bringing his gap down to 42 seconds and moving into seventh place.

“Today’s stage was pretty dynamic – you have the climbs and the flats, and it finishes with the flat sprint,” Stites said. “We were looking to put the leader under pressure, and then we ended up chasing the break to bring it back, and Canel’s helped as well, and we ended up catching him right at the end. It came down to a sprint, which I like sprinting, so that worked out, and I got a few bonus seconds which will help in the [general classification] as well.”

The Fort Bayard Inner Loop Road Race p/b Brian & Lynn Robinson/SW Bone & Joint Institute, a 76.2-mile course with everything from rollers to steep ascents and descents to a flat sprint, provided plenty of opportunity for teams to execute their game plans, and the action started shortly after the flag dropped.

Riders took advantage of Highway 180’s width and launched crossroad attacks trying to formulate breaks that never quite stuck. Heading toward Pinos Altos and the first king-of-the-mountains points, Heiner Parra Bustamante (Canel’s ZEROUNO), who led the king-of-the-mountains classification, launched an attack with help from a teammate and took maximum points, followed by Christhian Ravelo Avila (CS Velo), Xander White (CS Velo) and Matteo Dal-Cin (Toronto Hustle), who was five seconds down from Parra Bustamante on GC.

Xander White looks back at his gap on the field in Stage 2, 2022 Tour of the Gila. Photo courtesy of the Tour of the Gila.

The escapees filed back into the peloton, but at about 17 miles into the race, White again took off in anticipation of the next KOM points, just a few miles up the road. He gained a 25-second gap and reached the top first, with Parra Bustamante next, followed by teammate Eduardo Corte Cordero (Canel’s ZEROUNO) and Jordan Cheyne (Project Echelon Racing).

Meanwhile, Ignacio “Nacho” Prado Juarez, Canel’s ZEROUNO’s sprinter for the stage, suffered a mechanical with his derailleur.

Riders flew down the massive descent to Sapillo Crossing, with White initiating some space between himself and the field. Eight other riders followed, and a break formed containing several GC contenders: Dal-Cin (third), Sean Gardner (CS Velo and sixth), White (seventh), as well as Jordan Cheyne and George Simpson (both Project Echelon Racing), Brooks Wienke, Keith Gullickson, Gabriel Shipley (all Aevolo Cycling) and Matt Jablonski (Cinch Cycling).

Main breakway group of the day tries to maintain its lead in Stage 2, 2022 Tour of the Gila. Photo courtesy of the Tour of the Gila.

“CS Velo was being super aggressive on the first two climbs, and we got up the road,” Dal-Cin said. “They were super committed to it.”

The break gained two minutes on the field around the race’s halfway point, and the nine pushed hard to keep the gap going and to try to increase it. But others in the peloton who didn’t make the selection, such as Canel’s ZEROUNO and Project Echelon Racing, had other ideas.

“Unfortunately, not many of the other guys were keen to do much work up there, so we kind of got stuck there at two minutes,” Dal-Cin said.

Project Echelon Racing works on the front to pull back the break in Stage 2, 2022 Tour of the Gila. Photo courtesy of the Tour of the Gila.

The gap began to decrease as the wind began to increase, and Shipley dropped back to the main field. White had a flat, leaving Gardner to fend for himself. Meanwhile the peloton suffered a split in the wind, and a larger group got away and made its way to gobble up the break.

But at 7.5 miles to go, the group was all back together, and the final attacks began toward a sprint finish. Although nothing stuck, riders picked wheels and set up their best effort for the line.

Stites crossed the line first, and although Prado Juarez and White both suffered mechanicals earlier in the race, they managed to take second and third respectively.

Tyler Stites crosses the line on Stage 2 for the win in Stage 2, 2022 Tour of the Gila. Photo courtesy of the Tour of the Gila.

“I’m really happy and grateful for my team; they did everything at the end,” Prado Juarez said in Spanish. “The strategy was one guy in front, and it worked, thank God. I’m happy with my team and my family. I’m thankful for them also because they give me a lot of motivation to ride hard.”

White nearly made something happen at every point on the course from winning a KOM, picking up sprint points, making it into the break and getting on the podium.

“I’m pretty gutted,” White said. “I really wanted to win today and threw the kitchen sink at it, but it didn’t work out.”

Tomorrow’s 16.15-mile Tyrone Individual Time Trial likely will shake up things for the overall standings as teams prepare to strategize for the final two days of racing.

“I was definitely a little tired after yesterday’s effort but managed to hang on,” said Toby Roed (Yoeleo Test Team p/b 4MINDPROJECT), who kept his red leader’s jersey after Stage 2. “For tomorrow, the TT is going to be a very hard day. I’m excited to get on the TT. I think it’s going to be a good day, and hopefully I’ll get to keep the jersey as well tomorrow.”

Men's Stage 2 results:

  1. Tyler Stites – Project Echelon Racing
  2. Nacho Prado – Canel’s Zerouno
  3. Xander White – CS Velo

GC After Stage 2:

  1. Toby Roed – Yoeleo Test Team p/b 4Mind Project: 6:28:14
  2. Heiner Parra Bustamante – Canel’s Zerouno: 6:28:20
  3. Matteo Dal-Cin – Toronto Hustle: 6:28:24

Best Young Rider After Stage 2:

  1. Jared Scott – Aevolo Cycling: 6:28:38
  2. Xander White – CS Velo: 6:29:01
  3. Caleb Classen – Team California/HMS: 6:30:08

KOM After Stage 2:

  1. Heiner Parra Bustamante – Canel’s Zerouno : 20 pts
  2. Toby Roed – Yoeleo Test Team p/b 4Mind Project : 15 pts
  3. Matteo Dal-Cin – Toronto Hustle : 15 pts

Sprint Points After Stage 2:

  1. Tyler Stites – Project Echelon Racing : 16 pts
  2. Xander White – CS Velo : 13 pts
  3. Nacho Prado – Canel’s Zerouno : 12 pts

Team General Classification After Stage 2:

  1. CS Velo: 19:29:04
  2. Canel’s Zerouno: 19:31:36
  3. Toronto Hustle: 19:32:08

 

 

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