Photo Credit: Casey B. Gibson
The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team began the UCI 2.2 Tour of the Gila with high expectations. Coming off of 2nd overall at both the Tour of Taiwan and Joe Martin Stage Race, the team was poised to fight for the win.
The team was fully committed to setting up climbing sensation James Piccoli for a solo win atop Mogollon, stage 1. The mountain top finish awarded Piccoli both the Red Leaders Jersey as well as the Polka Dot KOM Jersey.
Stage 1 Podium: 1st James Piccoli; 2nd Oscar Sevilla; 3rd Eder Frayre
Stage 2 proved to be challenging from the gun with a sprint point line within the first 5 miles. The team diligently protected their leader against the threatening breakaways and kept each one in check until Floyd’s of Leadville setup for the lead-out and final sprint to the line. It was a big success for the team to protect and maintain both of the jersey’s within the stage.
The Stage 3 Individual Time Trial was one that the team had been targeting for the season. George Simpson would be the first of the squad to tackle the 16.5 mile course and he set the fastest time of the day, placing him in the hot seat until the final riders finished the course.
He was only unseated by teammate Adam Roberge who finished 2nd and Serge Tvetkov who won the stage. Red Jersey wearer James Picolli finished a close 4th. With 3 team riders in the top 4, the team took over the Team General Classification as well as Adam Roberge moving to 3rd Overall and donning the White U23 Rider Jersey.
Stage 3 Podium: 1st Serge Tvetkov; 2nd Adam Roberge; 3rd George Simpson
The Downtown Silver City Criterium is always a fan and racer favorite. The 4-corner course includes rough pavement, a steep climb and fast descent into the final turn. The peloton was animated from the gun, with riders attempting to take sprint points as well as time bonuses with the hopes of getting into a breakaway that would stick to the finish.
However, the team had other plans with sprinters Young and Rodriguez on hand to fight for the win. With 4 laps remaining, the team methodically took the front and ensured no riders could escape. In the final lap, Floyd’s of Leadville took over the front, which allowed Young to slot in and get ready for his final sprint into the 4th and last turn. He held this position to the line, winning the stage with teammate Rodriguez slotting in for 3rd on the day.
Stage 4 of the 2019 Tour of the Gila, Men’s Criterium, Silver City, NM
The 5th and final stage tackles the Gila Monster which leaves no prisoners. The main team objective was to retain the Red Leader’s Jersey which meant all-hands were on deck to combat the GC threats. With diligent work and precision from all 8 members of the team, Picolli finished 5th on the day, solidifying the overall victory.
This win marks the first UCI Stage Race overall victory for the team, which is something to be celebrated. Without the dedication and commitment from all our riders, partners and fans, this result could not have happened. Thank you!
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