Strong Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 Terrific Team riding pays off; GC remains unchanged but the time gap increases
Silver City, New Mexico - Today’s seemingly benign twenty seven mile downtown criterium certainly proved to be a test to many of the 52 remaining women at the 25th edition of the SRAM Tour of the Gila.
Held in downtown Silver City, the criterium is a hit with the residents of Silver, and the streets were lined with lots of supporters. Hundreds of people came to cheer for the riders as they tackled the steep little kicker, the wind, and the uphill grind on Bullard Street.
With Clara Hughes 1:43 over Mara Abbott, and Abbott’s strengths complimentary to Sunday’s race more than Saturday’s, the criterium offered an opportunity for the sprinters in the field to take a shot at the podium. However, with 19 seconds of time bonuses up for grabs, the speed would stay high and the GC riders would have to stay on their toes.
Teams with sprinters such as Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12, Colavita/Forno D'Asolo, TIBCO/To The Top, and Specialized Juvaderm were eager to see the race come down to a field sprint. The other strong teams were content to see a break stay away to soak up some of the valuable time bonuses up for grabs.
The attacks began with the start pistol. As the battle ensued between the teams looking for a break and the teams looking for a field sprint, the speed stayed high and the fourth day of racing in the wind at altitude began to take its toll.
In the final four laps, Diadora/Pasta Zara began their lead-out, but began to fade with two laps still left to go. At bell lap, it was Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 and Colavita/Forno D'Asolo lining up their sprinters for the final kick. Hughes, using her great handling skills led it into the final corner coming in so hot many of the riders on her wheel backed off. But not Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12’s Lauren Tamayo.
Hughes jumped on the protected side, the left, leaving Tamayo having to take a run on the right. Colavita’s Andrea Dvorak also came hard on the right. But Hughes and Tamayo pulled away and it was a drag race to the line with Hughes just nipping Tamayo in a photo finish as they crossed over the white tape. Coryn Rivera was 6th.
Will Abbott be able to reclaim her red Leader’s Jersey? Or will Hughes be able to hold off the assaults from such powerhouse teams as Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 and Colavita? No matter what, the racing to this point has been a true test of fortitude, and tomorrow promises to be more of the same.
Photo: Wil Matthews