• 2012/05/03 Two Podium Spots For Women, Fourth Place for Salas in Stage One of the SRAM Tour of the Gila
    • Two Podium Spots For Women, Fourth Place for Salas in Stage One of the SRAM Tour of the Gila Two Podium Spots For Women, Fourth Place for Salas in Stage One of the SRAM Tour of the Gila Two Podium Spots For Women, Fourth Place for Salas in Stage One of the SRAM Tour of the Gila

      Climbing aces Carmen Small and Jade Wilcoxson finished 2nd and 3rd on the stage behind Olympian and former world champion Kristin Armstrong. Janel Holcomb rejoined her teammates stateside after a stint in Europe with Team USA, finishing 5th on the stage to round out an Optum p/b KBS-heavy top five.

      “Three riders in the top five is a great way for the team to stack the early standings and put pressure on for the remaining week,” said Performance Director Rachel Heal. “Strength in numbers is a great way to accomplish what we need to tactically. We are looking forward to mixing things up this weekend in New Mexico.”

      Jade Wilcoxson, continuing to demonstrate a potent and diverse skill set in her first year as a pro rider, also leads the sprint competition after collecting 10 points. Wilcoxson claimed the points crown at Joe Martin on her way to her first ever overall victory on the NRC calendar, and continues to show she is a threat to win any race.

       

      Sebastian Salas Flexes Climbing Chops on Brutal Mogollon Grade

      In the men’s race, Sebastian Salas continued his rapid progression on one of North America’s most demanding slopes – the relentless Mogollon Climb. The SRAM Tour of the Gila tradition, with gradients exceeding 18%, is a test to any uphill standout, and Salas showed a flash of his potential climbing brilliance, riding in his first UCI 2.2 ranked event for Optum p/b KBS. The young Canadian finished fourth overall, 14 seconds behind stage winner Rory Sutherland (Team United HealthCare).

      “Sebastian showed today that his effort on the big climbs at Joe Martin were no fluke,” said Performance Manager Eric Wohlberg, directing the team in New Mexico. “We have some world-class climbers throwing down at this race, and Sebastian hung tough on a climb I’ve always considered one of the hardest in North America.”

      A stellar effort from the team sheltered Salas through difficult cross wind sections and prepared him for maximum wattage on the courses steepest sections. Mike Creed escorted the young rider through one of the courses windiest sections as riders dropped like flies, the group dwindling to just six remaining challengers.

      “I think it was apparent to everyone that Sebastian had good legs today, and the team was ready and willing to throw down and help get him up these big hills,” said Wohlberg. “It should help make for a very competitive race for us.”

      Tomorrow continues for both the men and women with the Inner Loop Road Race. The early climbs should prove difficult, however large groups have coalesced near the finish in years past, segueing into a typically frantic field sprint in Fort Bayard.