Canadian Cyclist


April 26/23 21:35 pm - Gontova 3rd on Opening Stage of Tour of the Gila

Posted by Editoress on 04/26/23

Marcela Prieto Castañeda (PatoBike) dug deep for a come-from-behind victory over the top of the Mogollon Wednesday on Stage 1 at the 36th Tour of the Gila.

The Mexican GC contender was dropped by Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation) in the final kilometre then mustered up the strength in the last 200 metres to push past Killips and onto the top step of the podium with an eight-second lead for the red jersey.

"I was feeling good, and we were fighting neck and neck to reach the finish line," Prieto Castañeda said. "There came a moment when I pushed hard and managed to catch up with Austin, and then I kept giving it my all, maintaining a tough but steady pace. I managed to crown myself with this victory, which makes me feel very happy, emotional, and proud since I had never won a stage here in the Tour of [the] Gila."

The peloton stayed together for the majority of the race until the first bonus sprint at km 29 when Rylee McMullen (Instafund Pro Cycling) attacked with Sarah van Dam (DNA Pro Cycling) and Stephanie Halamek (Amy D Foundation) following in second and third, respectively. 

The three were absorbed back into the field, which stayed together until the second bonus sprint at km 59. McMullen, van Dam and Halamek repeated, with McMullen securing the green sprinter's jersey.

Jazmine Lavrgne (Primeau Vélo Racing) woke up the peloton at km 69 when she attacked and stayed away in a solo break with a 25-second gap. Lauren Zoerner (Competitive Edge Racing) began to bridge with the peloton hot on her heels. Zoerner joined Lavrgne, but they were caught by km 79.

Before the second feed, a small crash at the back caused some concern, but riders were unscathed and continued racing.

Cynisca Cycling put in a few digs but weren't able to create enough separation to stay away.

As the group amassed to take on the climb to Mogollon, teams began setting themselves up for victory near the front and lifting the pace.

Then a select group of 10 riders remained: Prieto, Anet Barrera Esparza (DNA Pro Cycling), Ashley Frye (Cynisca Cycling), Nadia Gontova (Roxo Racing), Maeghan Easler (Roxo Racing), Marlies Mejias Garcia (Virginia's Blue Ridge TWENTY24), Emily Ehrlich (Virginia's Blue Ridge TWENTY24), Laurel Quiñones (Virginia's Blue Ridge TWENTY24), Caitlin Conyers (Amy D Foundation) and Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation).

With seven kilometres to go, the grupetto started to split apart with Killips and Prieto leading up the climb and Frye and Gontova chasing. But the chasers never closed the gap as Killips appeared to be riding away with the win.

But Prieto had other ideas, clawing her way back and crossed the line first with the upset. It was her first win at Tour of the Gila after competing five times before.

"I am very happy and grateful to my team for the work they did throughout the race," said Prieto Castañeda, who also took the polka dot queen of the mountains jersey. "They were always at the front covering me, and I thank them very much. It was a very fought race, honestly. It was a tough climb from beginning to end, and we were fighting for the top positions to enter the last climb as close to the front as possible. The group tightened in front, and in the end, only Austin and I remained."

Killips said she was happy with her performance despite missing the victory.

"I was able to improve on my results from last year third to second," Killips said. "I think I had a really strong climb. It's really exciting to be riding with Amy D again with a little bit more experience under my belt and being able to help foster the environment and experience that I got to have last year for everyone. It was a hard race and a hard climb and I pedaled as hard as I could."

After Killips, Gontova took third, with Frye in fourth and Barrera in fifth.

The white best young rider jersey went to Gontova.

"All the girls on the team rode really strong," Gontova said. "They were all really great wheels to follow. I think we worked well together, and they helped me get up to the front coming into the climb. And then I was not feeling too strong at the start of the climb, but then I think I got into a good rhythm and was chipping away at the climb and ended up in third so I was pretty happy to get on the podium today."

Tour of the Gila press release



Stage 1: Mogollon Road Race, 114.3 km
1 Marcela Prieto Castaneda (Mex) Pato Bike 3:50:12
2 Austin Killips (USA) Amy D Foundation at 0:04
3 Nadia Gontova (Can) Roxo Racing 0:27
4 Ashley Frye (USA) Cynisca Cycling 0:41
5 Ane Barrera Esparza (Mex) DNA Pro Cycling 1:00
6 Diana Penuela Martinez (Col) DNA Pro Cycling 1:23
7 Paige Boldt (USA) Competitive Edge Racing 1:32
8 Emily Ehrlich (USA) Virginia's Blue Ridge TWENTY 1:39
9 Maeghan Easler (USA) Roxo Racing 1:41
10 Cari Flores Marquez (Mex) Pato Bike 1:44
11 Olga Zabelinskaya (Uzb) Tashkent City Women Professi s.t.
12 Emily Newsom (USA) Roxo Racing 1:49
13 Laurel Quinones (USA) Virginia's Blue Ridge TWENTY 2:04
14 Marli Mejias Garcia (Cub) Virginia's Blue Ridge TWENTY 2:25
15 Camargo Santacana Ma (Mex) Amy D Foundation 2:31
16 Myriam Paquet (Can) Cardinal - Classic 2:44
17 Florence Howden (USA) Cardinal - Classic 2:59
18 Rachel Jordan (USA) 3T/Q+M Cycling s.t.
19 Caitlin Conyers (Ber) Amy D Foundation 3:07
20 Shayna Powless (USA) DNA Pro Cycling 3:12
21 Anna Dorovskikh (USA) Cardinal - Classic 3:15
22 Stefanie Sydlik (USA) 3T/Q+M Cycling 3:25
23 Jessica Cygan (USA) Cynisca Cycling 3:30
24 Lilly Ujfalusi (Can) Primeau Velo Racing Team 3:31
25 Cassandra Nelson (USA) Amy D Foundation 3:34
26 Anna Hicks (USA) Cynisca Cycling 3:39
27 Rylee Mcmullen (NZl) InstaFund 3:52
28 Holly Breck (USA) DNA Pro Cycling 4:08
29 Jim Tamez Escamilla (Mex) Pato Bike 4:20
30 Kaitlyn Rauwerda (Can) DNA Pro Cycling 4:38
31 Isabella Bertold (Can) InstaFund s.t.
32 Lo Villamizar Varon (Col) Pato Bike 5:07
33 Coralie Levesque (Can) Primeau Velo Racing Team s.t.
34 Stephanie Halamek (USA) Amy D Foundation 5:14
35 Romin Hinojosa Cruz (Mex) Roxo Racing 5:29
36 Margarita Misyurina (Uzb) Tashkent City Women Professi 5:44
37 Regina Legge (USA) Competitive Edge Racing 5:46
38 Sarah van Dam (Can) DNA Pro Cycling 5:49
39 Hayley Wickstrom (USA) 3T/Q+M Cycling 6:04
40 Jaime Larmer (USA) Roxo Racing @ 6:24
41 Nicole Steinmetz (USA) Virginia's Blue Ridge TWENTY 6:29
42 Nafosat Kozieva (Uzb) Tashkent City Women Professi 6:49
43 Elizabeth Gin (Can) Primeau Velo Racing Team 6:56
44 Valeria Leon Ordaz (Mex) Pato Bike 7:07
45 Leigh Dukeman (USA) Cardinal - Classic 7:11
46 Sof Arreola Navarro (Mex) Virginia's Blue Ridge TWENTY 7:39
47 Lucy Hempstead (Can) Primeau Velo Racing Team 7:45
48 Salomon Valenzuela, (Mex) Pato Bike 7:59
49 Brenna Wrye-Simpson (USA) InstaFund 8:07
50 Anna Megale (USA) Competitive Edge Racing 8:18
51 Galen Bolard (USA) 3T/Q+M Cycling 8:24
52 Samantha Scott (USA) Competitive Edge Racing 8:57
53 Sofiya Karimova (Uzb) Tashkent City Women Professi 9:08
54 Camille Primeau (Can) Primeau Velo Racing Team s.t.
55 Lauren Zoerner (USA) Competitive Edge Racing 9:29
56 Claire Windsor (USA) Cynisca Cycling 10:10
57 Katherine Sarkisov (USA) Cynisca Cycling 12:13
58 Cara O'neill (USA) Cynisca Cycling 12:36
59 Helena Coney (Can) InstaFund 13:10
60 Jazmine Lavergne (Can) Primeau Velo Racing Team 13:12
61 Cheyenne Noble (USA) Cardinal - Classic s.t.
62 Rachel Parker (USA) Amy D Foundation 13:48
63 Danielle Morshead (USA) Virginia's Blue Ridge TWENTY 16:11


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