The 32nd edition of La Vuelta de Bisbee, often used as lead-up to the NRC Tour of the Gila, is on this weekend in Arizona for the pro men. The 87 riders face a prologue and 3 stages in three days filled with climbing and wind. To make it even more interesting, a cold front hit the region bringing snow and hail but the temperature is expected to come back up to high of 77 F by Sunday.
Last year, the battle for the overall raged between Phil Zajicek (Fly V Australia) and Darren Lill then with Team Type 1, both strong time trialists and climbers. The lead changed hands between the two until Lill took the victory by overcoming a 30-second deficit on the final stage. Now both on the same team Lill and Zajicek are returning to defend with a strong Fly V Australia squad. Expected to fight for the overall will be the UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis squad led by Rory Sutherland. Others riders that could surprise include Sutherland’s teammate Morgan Schmitt and Corey Collier (Bahati Foundation).
Other teams in the mix include Bicycle Haus, Bicycle Religion, RideClean, Team Rio Grande, Team Exergy and Team Waste Management/Hammer Nutrition. (See start list)
The race starts on Friday evening with the 1.8-mile (2.9 km) prologue, the Mule Pass Time Trial, shortened from the traditional 2.8-mile (4.5 km) course due to washed out roads. Riders will be off at 30-second intervals with the first rider at 5:56pm and the last at 6:39pm. (See TT Start times)
Saturday brings the double-stage day with the 90-mile (145km) Sulphur Springs Road Race in the morning and the 7.2-mile (11.5 km) out-and-back Warren Time Trial later in the afternoon. Last year, Lill outsprinted Zajicek to win the road race and take over the lead but Zajicek was in yellow at the end of the day after setting the fastest time of 13:53 on the TT.
Results will be available here