Race Preview: Tour of the Gila
After a successful series of European Spring Classics races, Team TIBCO - Silicon Valley Bank looks to the next event: the Tour of the Gila. Featuring mountain top finishes, gusty winds and undulating terrain through iconic Western landscapes, the Tour of the Gila has solidified itself as a staple on the American racing circuit.
Team TIBCO - Silicon Valley Bank’s roster for the Tour of the Gila is Lex Albrecht (CAN), Brodie Chapman (AUS), Alice Cobb (GBR), Sharlotte Lucas (NZL), Emily Marcolini (CAN) and Emily Newsom (USA).
Today’s 114.3-km stage is mostly flat, with the wind being the biggest challenge riders face - until the final 7km climb. Finishing just below the Mogollon ghost town, the climb pitches up to 15 percent in places and will certainly set the tone for the next four days of racing.
The second stage, featuring 120.7 kilometers on a rolling course, starts and finishes at Fort Bayard, a historic military hospital. With 5,854 feet of climbing and three Cat 3 QOM’s, the race often concludes in a bunch sprint from a whittled down field of riders. Canadian Lex Albrecht won Stage 2 in 2017’s edition of the race.
On day 3, riders head to the Tyrone time trial course for an an out-and-back 26-kilometer TT that favors power riders and climbers, depending on the wind conditions. The first 4.7km is a steady climb into rolling hills before the turnaround - and what can be a fast descent back to the finish.
Held in downtown Silver City, the criterium on the fourth stage features a climb on the back stretch that leads to a fast descent into the final corner before a slightly rising finish. The criterium will feature a live feed video for those wanting to watch the race in action.
The final day is where the general classification will ultimately be determined. It’s the ‘Gila Monster’ stage, starting in Silver City and heading into the historic Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument, before a final climb back to Pinos Altos for the finish. This is a heavy climbing course with 5,610 feet of climbing and just 4,714 feet of descending, and three QOMs on course (one Cat 2, and two Cat 3 climbs). It will certainly be a stage for the climbers.
With a solid group of climbers and strong riders, Team TIBCO - Silicon Valley Bank will be looking for opportunities and has a few cards to play, with a combination of power riders and strong climbers, including Brodie Chapman who recently scored a top 10 at Flèche Wallonne.
Team TIBCO - Silicon Valley Bank will also be racing the Tour of Yorkshire, starting Friday, May 3.