Silver City, NM – Tour of the Gila was H&R Block’s second UCI 2.2 stage race in as many weeks. After traveling from last weekend’s Joe Martin stage race, the rest of the team met James Piccoli and Adam de Vos in Silver City, New Mexico. The two of them had been in Silver City prior to the race to acclimate to the near 2,000m of altitude and the lack of oxygen that goes along with it.
The first stage was a long road stage ending in a 10km climb to the ghost town of Mogollon. A large breakaway including H&R Block’s Travis Samuel was allowed a long leash that ultimately couldn’t be brought back before the finish. The winner on the day came from the breakaway, with the rest of the GC picture being set behind. Adam was able to finish 16th and keep well within the reach of a high GC placing.
Stage 2 was another long and hilly affair, but with far less of a GC implication. The team stayed calm and with Garrett McLeod and Stuart Wight doing well to position Adam in the top 20 of the sprint to ensure no GC time was affected.
Stage 3 was a long, hilly time trial that would be the next chapter in the GC battle for Adam. Luca Segato, the Team Director, was in the team car behind Adam, honking and providing encouragement. As Adam puts it, “I was able to overcome some questionable legs and execution errors to finish 17th, gaining time on some rivals but losing time to others and moving into 11th on GC. I was determined to improve on this as the weekend progressed.”
The stage 4 criterium played out the same as stage 2, with the team rallying together to keep Adam safe, again finishing in the top 20 to maintain the status quo on GC.
The final stage, the Gila Monster, was sure to cause a shakeup. After Adam infiltrated the early break of 25 riders along with James, Adam was able to sit on and conserve while James did fantastic job driving the pace and putting pressure on Adam’s GC rivals in the peloton. After the two ascensions of the Gila Monster climb, the lead had reshuffled and was down to a pack of 20 riders. Despite countless attacks from strong men like Rob Britton, Michael Woods, and Chris Horner, Adam was able to remain in the group heading into the final 2 km climb to Pinos Altos.
Having pre-ridden the finish and making the mistake of launching his sprint too late last year, Adam was patient heading into the final 400m steep kicker. When the moves were launched and the dust settled, Adam was able to sprint to a strong 5th place finish. The second outcome of the tough day was that numerous riders high in the overall were dropped vaulting Adam from 11th to 7th in the General Classification scoring H&R Block’s first UCI points of the season. Adam also finished 3rd in the General Classification for the U25 competition.
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