At the end of a long day, Lex Albrecht out sprinted Taylor Wiles yesterday to win the second stage of Tour of the Gila.
The stage started with GC Leader Katie Hall’s team controlling the peloton. A cross headwind discouraged any serious break attempts, but hard climbing and rolling hills dwindled the peloton. As the bunch approached the final series of climbs with twenty-five kilometers to go, a four-rider break had established a fifty-second advantage. Hall was forced to lead the chase on the penultimate climb into a stiff headwind. As the main bunch crested the climb the break was absorbed and the bunch re-grouped on the descent. With less than thirty riders remaining, attacks started flying from the base of the final climb.
About half way up the final climb, Tayler Wiles launched a vicious attack with Scotti Lechuga locked on her wheel. Albrecht reacted immediately and jumped onto the move. With three kilometers to go, the trio had a gap of twenty seconds over what was left of the front pack. Wiles made the first attack coming into the finish line, but Albrecht clawed her way back up and came by her at the line for the victory.
"It really was a team effort today”, Lex said. “In the final ten kilometers we worked well together to cover attacks. I happened to go with the one that stuck. When Taylor came past me at speed on the last stretch, I knew I had to give it everything I had to get to the line first.”
“I am very happy with the way the team fought together in the finale”, said Ed Beamon. “Our new EDCO wheels were a bonus today, and a bit of a secret weapon. We had Lex on the brand new Julier Light Special Edition wheels that we received just in time for this race. The super light weight and lower profile really helped Lex when the crosswinds kicked up towards the end of the stage."
Lex's win comes after a solid effort by Lauren Stephens on stage 1. GC positions after stage two have Lauren Stephens in 6th at +25" and Lex Albrecht in 8th at +28”.
Up next is the individual time trial, a stage that could have a dramatic impact on the overall classification.
Images: Jonathan Devich