Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Cap Successful Tour of the Gila off with 5th in Gila Monster Finale

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neve

Now in its 32nd edition, the Tour of the Gila has traditionally served as a true test for North American cyclists looking to succeed in the bigger stages race later in the season and is the second US stop on the UCI Americas Tour. In order to succeed in Silver City, NM, you need to be able to cope with a starting elevation of 5900’.

Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling, fresh off their stage victory on the final day of the Joe Martin Stage Race, kept the team unchanged for the 2018 Tour of the Gila and a focus on the sprint stages with JMSR winner Alfredo Rodriguez and, 2017 Tour of Utah stand out, James Piccoli for the General Classification.

The first stage of the race is relatively flat until the peloton reaches the infamous Mogollon climb. The team spent much of the stage looking after James and keeping him safe on the long straight roads that make up the majority of the route. As the road started to tilt skyward the peloton fractured completely and Eder Frayer looked after James as long as possible before James found himself in the chase group behind five leaders up the road. The very narrow and rough road gave the five escapees the advantage they needed as James would ultimately cross the line for a respectable sixth place on the stage, keeping him in the GC conversation heading into stage two.

Fort Bayard, just outside of Silver City, serves as the start and finish for the stage two Inner Loop Road Race. With a course that finishes with a flat run into the line, preceded by 5700’ of climbing, this stage has proved difficult to predict in past editions with the winner coming from both bunch sprints and successful breakaway attempts. This year’s stage started with a breakaway of sixteen riders getting away about ten miles into the race on the difficult Pinos Altos climb. Eventually this group would be whittled down to just five riders with only one rider in the general classification conversation, the peloton never really got organized enough to bring them back before the finish. In the end Eder would sprint to 12th on the stage and James would only lose one place on the GC with Janier Acevedo from UHC moving up thirteen spots into the top 5 and the decisive stage three time trial up next for the squad.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neve

The Tyrone Individual Time Trial is one the more challenging courses for a TT on the US circuit, with its 1000’ of climbing over 16 miles coupled with fierce wind over the unprotected highway. With the General Classification battle still very much in play for the team with James Piccoli sitting in seventh place, George Simpson went into the stage looking to set a top time while also providing crucial feedback to the his teammate for later in the day. George came through with a early best time earning himself a moment on the hot seat for his efforts before the GC battle went down later in the day. James cemented another tough day in the saddle with ninth on the stage, which was enough to retain his seventh place over all. George’s time proved to be plenty fast when the stage was complete as he finished just behind his teammate’s time in fourteenth place on the stage.

The team proved its versatility in the stage four Downtown Silver City Criterium with focus shifting to star sprinter Alfredo Rodriguez while also eying those bonus second sprints for James (who only needed one second to move into sixth overall). As criteriums go, the Tour of the Gila race is not easy, with a tough climb each lap creating a launch pad for attacks, keeping the race together for the finish proves to be no simple task. Attacks flew early and often in the 2018 edition of the race, but nothing of any danger to the peloton was able to materialize. With fourteen laps completed of the 1.1 mile circuit James was able to grab two important bonus seconds in the sprint lap, moving himself up one spot on GC and allowing the team to shift complete focus towards delivering Alfredo to the line. As the laps ticked down the team moved to the front to control the race with six laps remaining in the forty lap race, but soon after several other sprint trains came forward to create an interesting battle for control of the final lap of the race. In the end Alfredo would come up short of the podium with fourth place on the stage and only the defining Gila Monster left to decide the outcome of the races finale the following day.

Photo Credit: Robert Simpson

The Gila Monster Road Race is one of the toughest days of racing in North America and has the ability to completely rewrite the general classification previously decided by four strenuous days of racing. Similar to the Inner Loop Road Race, the iconic stage takes follows a reverse loop of the stage two route before finishing on the back of the Pinos Alto Climb, or the Gila Monster. Twenty miles into the final stage of the 2018 edition and a large break of fifteen riders, including our Eder Frayer,  were able to gain a maximum advantage of two minutes before being absorbed back into the peloton with thirty miles remaining. “The team rode awesome,” Director Sportif Paul Abrams said. “Eder made the first break, and Kevin (Girkins), Jordan (Cheyne), and James made the front group of 5 rider that bridged to the leaders.”

James then stepped out on his own and attacked and eventually got away from the reduced peloton with Rob Britton (Rally) and Gavin Manion (UHC). With 20 km to go James lost contact with the two leaders and waiting for Eder and a small chase group coming just behind. Eder dug deep to close the gap for James to the leaders , allowing him to finish 5th on the stage, just 35” behind the two leaders. Gavin Mannion (UHC) would take the stage and Rob Britton (Rally) came in second, with the two swapping places and Britton (Rally) taking the overall. Eder hung on to finish eleventh on the stage, just outside the top ten, and moving up to eleventh overall, while James would lock in his sixth place in the GC standings with his top five finish on the stage.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neve

The squad soon heads back home to the Redlands Bicycle Classic, starting May 2nd, looking to defend their home turf as the USA Pro Road Tour brings the peloton to Southern California. Up first, though, is the Dana Point Grand Prix.

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Thank you to our 2018 Partners: 

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Sea Otter 2018

This years Sea Otter was pretty epic. This is the first time this year that all of the KHS athletes have been at one event. Enjoy this short edit of the KHS Factory racing team, Rebecca Gross, and the Elevate KHS pro Cycling team as they leave their mark on the 2018 Sea Otter Classic.

KHS Factory Racing riders, Nik Nestoroff, Seamus Powell, Rebecca Gross, Logan Binggeli, and team Manager Quinton Spaulding.

Elevate KHS Pro Cycling team members, Cory Williams, Gavin Hoover, Scott Law, Nick Torraca, and Brian McCulloch.

Rebecca Gross had her weekend cut a little short as she was involved in a crash during the Cyclocross race, but she toughed it out and finished the race.

Seamus Powell took 12th in the Enduro race and placed 18th in the Down Hill race.

Nik Nestoroff had a good week, just off his 6th place finish up in Port Angeles, he placed 23rd in the Down Hill and took 7th in the Dual Slalom.

Fresh off his 5th at Port Angeles, Logan Binggeli finished off the week with a 15th place finish in the Dual Slalom and 7th in the Down Hill race.

The Elevate KHS pro cycling team had a great week and Sea Otter as Gavin finished 2nd in the opening road Crit and teammate Nick Torraca took 4th. Nick then went on to take 2nd on the road race, and Cory Williams and Scott Law finished the weekend off by going 1 & 2 in the Road Circuit race on the final day.

All in all it was great weekend for team KHS.

Sea Otter Classic: 5 Podiums & Partner Visits

The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team had a n excellent showing at the 2018 Sea Otter Classic. With 5 podiums including a win on the final day at the Circuit Race, the campaign was very successful. Beyond their podium appearances, however, the riders had the great opportunity to connect with many of the teams partners through out the weekend. Continue reading “Sea Otter Classic: 5 Podiums & Partner Visits”

First UCI America Tour Victory at Joe Martin Stage Race

Alfredo Rodriguez Claims Victory as Sam Bassetti Dons Green Points Jersey on Final Stage.

Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling secured their first victory of the UCI America Tour, this past weekend, on the final stage of the UCI 2.2 Joe Martin Stage Race as Alfredo Rodriguez stormed to victory in the technical Stage Four criterium. The stage victory was the breakthrough the team was looking for after finishing on the podium in the previous two stages with Alfredo Rodriguez finishing second in the Stage Two sprint and James Piccoli coming in 2nd on the Stage Three uphill time trial.

The Joe Martin Stage Race is not only first stop for the UCI America Tour in the United States, but also serves as the first USA Cycling Pro Road Tour event, ensuring each of the top American professional squads would line up alongside the team for the contest.

Stage One, a 113 mile loop, started with a dangerous break with the team well represented by three riders. While most of the strong teams were represented in the breakaway, they would only last until the foot of the final climb. From there Eder Frayre got things going for the team by sprinting to 6th place in the tough finish.

The following stage was another long road race with a lumpy 110 mile course and another 6,000 feet of climbing. As the weather turned south quickly, George Simpson represented the team in the break on the rainy stage; the advantage for the break grew to almost three minutes before being caught inside fifteen miles to go. In the final meters Sam Bassetti and Alfredo would time their sprint almost perfectly before coming up just short of the victory. Alfredo stepped onto the second step of the podium with teammate Sam just behind in fifth place on the stage going into the only time trial of the race on Stage three.

The Devils Den time trial stage is notorious for being both very short and very difficult with the riders climbing up 725 feet in only three miles. James Piccoli found the uphill test to be to his liking, riding his KHS Flite 900 to the second best time on the day, just six seconds shy of taking the first victory of the race for the team. With one stage remaining, the team would have to make their mark on the final day of racing, the Fayetteville Criterium.

On the final stage of the Joe Martin Stage Race the team had two goals, first move Sam Bassetti into the lead in the green Points Jersey standings (second after three stages), and secondly move Alfredo up to the top step. We staked the break ahead of points sprints looking for opportunities for Sam and he repaid the team for their support by taking enough points throughout the stage to ensure all he had to do was finish to take the jersey home with him.

As the laps ticked down in the criterium, breaks continued to move up the road with Jordan Cheyne and Sam representing the team up the road. After coming up Short on Stage Two, the team left nothing to chance in the final test as Alfredo stormed to victory in the sprint finish in front of the great local crowd.

The team didn’t have much time to celebrate their success as the had to quickly head off to Silver City, NM, where they are currently preparing for the Stage Three Tyrone Time Trial with James Piccoli sitting in 7th place overall.

Follow Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling On Our Social Media Outlets for the latest race day updates!

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Texas State Criterium Champion: Nick Torraca

Elevate -KHS Pro Cycling Team member Nick Torraca won Texas State Championship win this past weekend! This has been a break-out season for the Austin-based rider, and we checked in with him after his first state championship victory to see how it all came together.

KHS: Congratulations on winning the Texas Criterium Championship! Tell us about the race and how it played out in the finale.

Nick Torraca: Texas State Crit Championships was held in Dallas this year on the 8-turn Matrix Challenge course. Matrix is a course that I have had previous experience racing on with success. Staying at the front of the race and out of trouble is critical in preserving energy and having the ability to follow moves effectively. Prior to the race, I had talked with director Heath Blackgrove to go over a strategy that would put me in position to win. I knew leading into the last corner was my best bet at getting to the finish line first. About 20 minutes into the race, I found myself in a 6 man move which eventually stayed away for good. I would rather sprint out of a break, so this worked out well for me. In the last lap, I took over the front with two corners to go, to make sure I hit the last corner first. Once I got there, I gave it one last dig to seal off the win for the Texas State Championship!

KHS: You have had a stand out season so far with 3 wins and 8 podium appearances. How has your training and focus over the winter and heading into the season been different?

NT: This has been such a terrific year already! 3 WINS and 8 podiums has been absolutely amazing for me. I never would have expected that coming into May. This is my first year racing without attending university, so I might attribute that with my success. However, my training has also more specific and intense. The most important factor this year would be that I am racing smarter. “Smarter is faster” I have been told countless times and the team has really driven that into me over the last few months. It’s nice to have that finally clicking in at the races. When your heart rate is 180+, making the right decision doesn’t always happen, but limiting your mistakes is key and I have been working on that.

KHS: What races are next for you?

NT: Sea Otter Classic this week, the Dana Point Grand Prix, followed by the Redlands Bicycle Classic. I am looking forward to getting on the road to California for the next block of racing with the team and to building on the success we have been having this season.

Follow Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling On Our Social Media Outlets for the latest race day updates!

Web: www.elevate-khsprocycling.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/elevatekhscycling/

Instagram: @elevatekhsprocycling

Thank you to our 2018 Partners: 

 

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