Doebel-Hickok emerges from stacked UCI Women’s field to take first post-pandemic Tour of the Gila stage win
SILVER CITY, New Mexico (April 27, 2022) — It was back to the business of bike racing for a stacked UCI Women’s peloton at Tour of the Gila Wednesday after a two-year pandemic hiatus, and a familiar face topped the Stage 1 podium: Krista Doebel-Hickok (Team EF Foundation TIBCO-SVB).
The former national hill-climb champion and fourth overall at 2019’s Tour of the Gila rode away with two kilometers to go from Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M Cycling Team) from Canada and Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation) for the win at the top of a brutal climb to Mogollon.
“We knew we had a lot of strong girls, and we truly believe we are the strongest team here and any one of us can win this race, and we didn’t care who, but we all knew this finish was for me,” Doebel-Hickok said. “I literally passed Sara [Poidevin], and said, ‘are you empty?’ and she said, ‘yeah,’ and I said, ‘OK.’ Then I knew I had to go and not look back even though I looked back a lot.”
Doebel-Hickok, like many in the women’s field of 53 riders returned after the two gap years when Tour of the Gila — one of the only remaining international professional cycling races in the U.S. — had to cancel for safety reasons. Now, riders from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Finland, Belgium and Austria came together for one of the first times on U.S. soil.
Attacks began at one kilometer before the first intermediate sprint when DNA Pro Cycling Team strung out the field to set up their dynamic sprinter Maggie Coles-Lyster from Canada. Team EF Foundation TIBCO-SVB was also gunning for sprint points with Poidevin from Canada taking second. Maria Valadez Ortiz (Amy D Foundation) from Mexico getting third.
The peloton largely stayed together until the final intermediate sprint when DNA Pro Cycling Team, Team EF Foundation TIBCO-SVB and InstaFund Racing revved it up in the hunt for points for the sprinter’s jersey. Heidi Franz (InstaFund Racing) crossed the line first, followed by Coles-Lyster and Rylee McMullen (InstaFund Racing) from New Zealand.
Teams in the hunt for general classification, or the overall leader’s jersey, took turns as the field headed toward the base of the Mogollon climb. Cinch Cycling and 3T/Q+M Cycling Team jockeyed for position to deliver their overall contenders and climbers like Kyleigh Spearing and Emily Marcolini to the front.
Marcolini, who nearly won the leader’s jersey at the Redlands Bicycle Classic last weekend in California only to have it nabbed by Franz, was gunning for a good slot for general classification on Stage 1.
DNA Pro Cycling Team, Team EF Foundation TIBCO-SVB met at the front of the peloton once they hit the base of the climb and drove the pace, shedding riders out the back and causing separation.
The field then whittled down to about 15 riders with five kilometers to go and Amy D Foundation, DNA Pro Cycling Team, Team EF Foundation TIBCO-SVB, 3T/Q+M Cycling Team, Cinch cycling, InstaFund Racing and Pato Bike represented. Team EF Foundation TIBCO-SVB churned out the pace.
With three kilometers to go, Poidevin put in a dig to set up Doebel-Hickok, who then was able to create a gap on Marcolini and Killips.
“Coming into the race I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to feel after five days of hard racing,” Marcolini said. “Also coming to altitude, I’m hit or miss, and the rest of my team has never raced at altitude before. So, my hope was just to be able to stick with the TIBCO ladies for as long as I could on the final climb and see what happens and hope I didn’t blow up. Obviously, that worked out all right for us. I’m super stoked. This is my first UCI podium so I’m really, really happy.”
Doebel-Hickok steadily extended her lead over the last two kilometers of the climb to win by 17 seconds. Marcolini, hot off winning the queen-of-the-mountains jersey at Redlands, finished second followed by Killips in third.
“It’s hard because this is my first stage race, first UCI race at this level,” Killips said. “I’ve trained really hard and I’m kind of peaking for this. This is a target for me. It’s hard to roll into a race and not to want to be on the podium or get a good result, so that’s what I want, and believed I was capable of it. I’m really proud. It hurt from the start and the second we started climbing.”
Tomorrow’s UCI Women’s Stage 2 Inner Loop Road Race p/b Brian & Lynn Robinson/SW Bone & Joint Institute will roll out from Fort Bayard for 76.2 miles.
Women’s Stage 1 Results:
- Krista Doebel-Hickok – EF Education-Tibco SVB
- Emily Marcolini – 3T/Q+M Cycling
- Austin Killips – Amy D Foundation
GC After Stage 1:
- Krista Doebel-Hickok – EF Education-Tibco SVB – 3:15:34
- Emily Marcolini – 3T/Q+M Cycling – 3:15:55
- Austin Killips – Amy D Foundation – 3:16:22
U25 After Stage 1:
- Kyleigh Spearing – Cinch Rise : 3:17:39
- Anet Barrera Esparza – DNA Pro Cycling : 3:19:01
- Kira Payer – DNA Pro Cycling : 3:20:21
Sprinter’s Jersey After Stage 1:
- Maggie Coles-Lyster – DNA Pro Cycling: 8 pts
- Heidi Franz – InstaFund Racing : 5 pts
- Sara Poidevin – EF Education-Tibco SVB : 3 pts
QOM Standings after Stage 1:
- Krista Doebel-Hickok – EF Education-Tibco SVB : 15 pts
- Emily Marcolini – 3T/Q+M Cycling : 12 pts
- Austin Killips – Amy D Foundation : 9 pts
Team Classification After Stage 1:
- EF Education-Tibco SVB – 9:52:30
- 3T/Q+M Cycling – 9:53:03
- DNA Pro Cycling – 9:54:54
Norwegian takes 1st Tour of the Gila UCI Men’s victory after 2-year pandemic hiatus
An all-international podium marked the return of the UCI Men’s Tour of the Gila Wednesday after a two-year pandemic hiatus: A Norwegian, a Colombian and a Canadian bested a 76-man peloton up a brutal climb to Mogollon on Stage 1 of a five-day race.
Torbjorn “Toby” Andre Roed (Yoeleo Test Team p/b 4MIND Project) from Norway, made his move with less than one kilometer to go after lying in wait until the steepest part of the climb. He passed Heiner Rodrigo Parra Bustamante (Canel’s ZEROUNO) from Colombia and Matteo Dal-Cin (Toronto Hustle) from Canada, who took second and third place, respectively.
“My tactic was to just sit in and save as much energy as possible,” said Roed, who will hang onto the general classification, or overall leader’s jersey going into tomorrow’s stage. “I had some good teammates that helped me get up toward the end there, and they did a pretty good job. I sat in, I played it cool, and let everyone else have their fun. About 1.3 kilometer to go, two guys tried to go up the road and I followed. Right at the steepest part I went a little bit harder and dropped them and kept it going all the way to the end.”
The men’s field of riders was much like a blank slate to many as new and young talent emerged over the two-year, COVID-19 gap when the Tour of the Gila — one of the only remaining international professional cycling races in the U.S. — had to cancel for safety reasons.
Some riders arrived in Silver City hot off another five-day stage race in Redlands, Calif. where they were able to get a glimpse of the competition, but a shift toward the unknown was still in the atmosphere as the group rolled out onto the 92-mile course.
Once the flag was down, attacks began flying and soon a five-man breakaway formed of Efren Santos Moreno (Canel’s ZEROUNO) from Mexico, Emile Hamm (Toronto Hustle) from Canada, Henry York (Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team), Jose Reyes Aguilera Garcia (SoCalCycling.com) from Mexico and Samuel Volkers (Meiyo CCN Pro Cycling) from Australia.
The break extended its gap to over three minutes before the peloton reeled them in to a safer time of two minutes and 30 seconds.
York nabbed the first intermediate sprint at 18.3 miles followed by Hamm and Aguilera Garcia. As the five riders approached the final intermediate sprint at 57.5 miles, the gap to the field began to dwindle, and Volkers launched.
As he took the most points for the sprint, followed by York and Hamm, he blew up the break, causing York and Hamm to fall off and taking Santos Moreno and Aguilera Garcia with him. The three riders managed to hold a gap on the peloton until 6.7 miles to go, virtually the base of the final climb.
All told, the break in some form, stayed away for around 70 miles.
“We got to about three minutes, and then it started to come down, with heaps of racing to go so, and we don’t know any riders here so, I wasn’t sure if there was the best climber in the race or something with us, so when we got to the second sprint, I went for the sprint, and basically just kept sprinting to force the group to try to move the time gap up a bit,” Volkers said.
Once the peloton gobbled up the three riders, it was anyone’s race. Teams, including Project Echelon, whose Tyler Stites won the leader’s jersey at Redlands, amassed at the front, as did CS Velo Racing, which includes 2020 Everesting world record holder Sean Gardener.
“We were hoping for a top result today, and me, Gardener and Cristhian [Ravelo] can all climb quite well,” said Alexander White (CS Velo), from New Zealand. “We went in protecting all three of us. A couple of the boys did really big shifts coming into the climb to keep us protected. Strong climbers [are] here so we couldn’t pull off the big result, but we’re all on to Day 2 with as much time, and looking to come back throughout the week.”
As the kilometers ticked away up the final climb, which reaches a 11% gradient at its steepest point and averages 7%, Canel’s ZEROUNO Parra Bustamante and Toronto Hustle’s Dal-Cin crept up to the front, getting ever-so-tiny advantages.
In the final kilometer, Roed launched, separating himself from Parra Bustamante and Dal-Cin, who also had small gaps between them. The two chasers ran out of road and just short of Roed.
“It was a really tough stage – my team worked really well together,” Parra Bustamante said in Spanish. “We really wanted the victory at the end but I wasn’t lucky, and I was up against a really strong competitor. At about 150 meters I wanted to go for him but I didn’t have anything left. Each second is important for me, and at Gila there are various tough stages and tough competitors. I will do my best to try to get closer to the GC win for my team.”
UCI Men’s Stage 2 Inner Loop Road Race p/b Brian & Lynn Robinson/SW Bone & Joint Institute will roll out from Fort Bayard for 76.2 miles.
Stage 1 Results:
- Torbjorn Andre Røed – YOELEO TEST TEAM P/B 4MIND
- Heiner Parra Bustamante – Canel’s Zerouno
- Matteo Dal-Cin – Toronto Hustle
GC After Stage 1:
- Torbjorn Andre Røed – YOELEO TEST TEAM P/B 4MIND : 3:32:14
- Heiner Parra Bustamante – Canel’s Zerouno : 3:32:20
- Matteo Dal-Cin – Toronto Hustle : 3:32:27
U23 After Stage 1:
- Jared Scott – Aevolo : 3:32:38
- Alexander White – CS Velo : 3:33:07
- Caleb Classen – Team California/HMS ; 3:34:08
Sprinter’s Jersey After Stage 1:
- Henry York – Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team : 8 pts
- Samuel Volkers – Meiyo CCN Pro Cycling : 5 pts
- Emile Hamm – Toronto Hustle : 4 pts
KOM Standings after Stage 1:
- Torbjorn Andre Røed – YOELEO TEST TEAM P/B 4MIND : 15 pts
- Heiner Parra Bustamante – Canel’s Zerouno : 12 pts
- Matteo Dal-Cin – Toronto Hustle : 9 pts
Team Classification After Stage 1:
- CS Velo – 10:40:48
- Project Echelon Racing – 10:42:50
- Canel’s Zerouno – 10:43:36