Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com) did it again at stage 1 of the SRAM Tour of the Gila. He put in an attack with 2km to go on the steep climb to Mogollon and outclimbed everyone to win the stage and take over the GC and KOM lead.
Continuing on his great start to the season, Tyler Wren (Jamis/Sutter Home) gave chase and crossed the line 14 seconds later to take second. 19-year old Joe Dombrowski (Trek-Livestrong) who could become a revelation was able to match Mancebo first attack at 3km to go and ultimately took third. Dombrowski now leads the U25 classification.
With an stage that included rollers with headwind followed by the final steep climb, everyone wanted to be in a break. It seemed like all the 149 riders in the field tried but nothing stuck. One move did look promising, between 8 to 10 riders that included Ozzie Olmos (CalGiant), Ben Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL), Thomas Rabou (RealCyclist.com), JR Grabinger (RideClean) and Alfredo Cruz (Chipotle Development Team) managed to get 30 seconds on the field after the Gila circuits. But lacked of cooperation doomed the move especially with Jamis/Sutter Home taking up the chase to keep everything together until the base of the climb.
With 10km to go, RealCyclist.com put three riders, Cole House, Rabou and Tommy Nankervis, at the front of the field to set up Mancebo for the climb. The pressure splintered the field over the mesa into 3 groups. Trek-Livestrong took over the pace setting with 4km to go as the road started to really pitch up and the lead group was down to around 25 riders. Mancebo put in his first attack with Dombrowski keeping up. The group came back together and then the final attack by Mancebo. Behind, it was a matter of survival and making it to the line.
By winning the first sprint and taking second in the final one, Danny Summerhill (Chipotle Development Team) will wear the green sprint jersey.
The racing continues on Thursday with the 80 miles (128.7km) Inner Loop Road Race starting and ending at Fort Bayard. Last year, the wind was a major factor in the race who knows what will happen this year?
Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.com Cycling Team). “We worked earlier in the stage because there was a 2-man break, it wasn’t dangerous per say but then they got 1:40, so we worked and then Trek-Livestrong took over the head of the peloton until the final 4km.”
“I attacked with 3km to go the first time but the Trek-Livestrong rider stayed with me. I attacked again, the one that worked. with 2km to go. At the start, it was a good pace for my attack but it is difficult with the altitude but I tried to do a good climb.”
About the altitude. “It’s better to get here 10 days before but we arrived yesterday, it’s a bit difficult but it is what it is. The issue was really the last kilometer, starting at 1,800 meters, that was the hardest.”
Tyler Wren (Jamis Sutter Home). “There was a headwind today and there wasn’t too much aggression until it got steep. Cooke was being aggressive and Paco just decided to go and no one could go with him. I tried to go across but I didn’t quite have it. At that point, it became ones and twos, it’s so steep that wasn’t much draft.”
About chasing the break. “There were a few breaks but nothing really got more than one minute. I think the most dangerous break was after the circuits, we had missed it and we put the whole team at the front to bring it back because we wanted it together at the base. Just a little bit of a headwind on the way here so it was hard for a break to make it. ”
About the battle for the lead. “We have Luis and myself close and we are definitely not going to just give it away to Paco, we’re going to fight so we have a few cards so we’re going to play them for sure. ”
Joe Dombrowski (Trek-Livestrong). “It went really well, I actually surprised myself today. In the grand scheme of things, I’m kind of new to the sport, I was racing Cat4 at the beginning of last year so it’s sort of a baptism by fire. I felt pretty good going into the base of the climb, I went with Mancebo the first time and it ended coming back together but it probably came down to about 10 guys from his attack and then he went again. I tried to go but just didn’t have the legs for that. It split a little bit and a small group and I think Tyler Wren went with about a Km to go, and it just shattered from them. ”
About the team plan. “George Bennett and I, either or, we didn’t want to let anything too big roll off the road, we weren’t sure if if was going to be heavy winds today in the valley so we were a little worried about that. And then just have George and I sit in and try to not do too much work. And then try and hit it real hard so it would be a little bit more selective on the climb. ”
Danny Summerhill (Chipotle Development Team). “To break it down, it was first and foremost our climbing boys, to work for them, obviously there was a set group of us that were all designated for breakaways. That was where trying to go for points came as well. Half of the team that was going for breaks. I think I probably had that [the points jersey] in mind the most, getting into the breaks so that I could accomplish that but first and foremost is just getting in to the breakaway to that the rest of the team doesn’t have to be at the front. Waiting for 100 km for that to actually happen was a nightmare. I haven’t raced like that in ages. ”
About nothing sticking. “It was so demoralizing, you’d think it would go and all of sudden there’s just one wrong guy in there and the rest of the field is ‘oh we’re not going to let that go’. And everyone and their mother was trying to get out there and get into a breakaway in the first place so left and right it was a nightmare. After that second sprint bonus, I think that’s around the time that it went. I was like well I’ve definitely put in my efforts so I don’t think I’ll be able to go with that but I’ve accomplished at least half of what I started the morning for.”
Top 10 Men Stage 1 Results
1 Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.com Cycling Team) 3:59:22.
2 Tyler Wren (Jamis Sutter Home) 0:00:14
3 Joe Dombrowski (Trek-Livestrong) 0:00:35
4 Alexander Howes (Chipotle Development Team) 0:00:40
5 George Bennett (Trek-Livestrong) s.t.
6 Chris Baldwin ((BISSELL Pro Cycling) 0:00:42
7 Ben Day (Kenda/5-Hour Energy Pro Cycling) 0:00:43
8 Lachlan Morton (Chipotle Development Team) 0:00:50
9 Matt Cooke (Team Exergy) 0:00:54
10 Nathaniel English (Yahoo! Cycling Team) 0:00:57