At the start of the race, for the first time in five days
it looked as though the riders would not be beaten to death by the
fierce Gila winds.
Six miles out the first attack of 20 riders separated from the pack as
they turned onto Hwy 152 leading up to the first
sprint and 1000
feet of climbing over
mountain passes and 9,250 feet of
climbing for the day. The break was premature, and
only the first that
would test Chris Wherry
and the dominance of the Mercury team as the
With Mercury securely in control of the GC
and Price separated by
three minutes, a change in the G.C. was possible.
It was only a question of which of the teams would attack in an attempt to
displace the Mercury riders from their dominance of the podium.
The turnoff to NM highway 15 begins the 7 mile 1600 ft Copperas Vista
Climb to 7400 ft,
turnaround at the Gila Cliff Dwellings visitor center.
attacks. Wherry, Moninger, Horner, Ubaldo Mesa ( Tecos), Carl
Swenson (RLX), Lieswyn, Andre Bajadali (Excel Sports), Tom Danielson
(Sobe/Cannondale) et. al. follow.
The pack disintegrates into chasing
By the end of descent to Sapillo Springs the peloton is shattered by the climb
and technical descent.
the base of the Cat. 2 Sapillo Springs Climb 15
miles and 1700 ft. of climbing to the finish split the leaders into two
Mercury's Chris Wherry and
Scott Moninger, Danny Pate/ Prime Alliance,
Teco's Ubaldo Mesa.
7UP strongman John Lieswyn, Carl Swenson, Bajadali and
Tom Danielson. The next chasing group
was several minutes down.
During the break Moninger
sacrificed himself for Wherry and the races
decided by a sprint finish with Wherry the victor, Danny Pate second and
Mesa third, Moninger fourth.
Swenson, Lieswyn, Bajadali, Danielson finish in this order.
Chris Wherry said after,
"Scott led me out and helped me win this
race... this is payback for my helping him win two races in last two
All the more impressive, Chris Wherry finished the race on Derek
Bouchard Hall's bike after he dropped his chain at the top of the Cat 1
climb to Gila
Excellent tactics by Chris Horner and Prime Alliance and great riding by
Danny Pate moved Pate onto the
podium. Another rock solid
performance by John Lieswyn brought him home in 4th place. Tecos rider
Ubaldo Mesa moved up from his thirteenth place
Tom Danielson (Sobe/Cannondale) moved up from 30th to 8th in the GC.
A starting field of 127 riders was reduced to 74 by race end.
pro Chuck Coyle
on the Mogollon stage, Chuck gave up his wheel to
teammates who flatted three times. In spite of this, Chuck finished the
race in the main group.
Another first year
pro I first met on the
Peloton chat eight
months ago, Russell Stevenson (Prime Alliance), finished in 43rd place,
with an excellent ride in support of his team.
During the Criterium, I over heard one of several Saturn
watching Chris Horner leading out the
peloton: " I don't believe he has
a broken foot....no one could ride that fast with a broken bone in their
foot." Well ladies, it's true, makes you wonder what Mr. Horner would
have done at 100%, doesn't
list: Sandy Perrins (Logan Race Club), Ian Dille and
Eric Murphy (Mercy Cycling team), Tom Danielson (Sobe/Cannondale), Tim Larkin
Lechuga (Choco Andean),
(Landis Trek/VW), and Mesa Ubaldo ( Tecos Turbo). Each of these riders
distinguished themselves riding at Gila with top
pros in a tough
The list is not complete but these riders caught my
attention and we will be watching them as the season progresses.
Jeanson and RONA
Genevieve Jeanson once again dominated the final road race, winning four
of the five stages, winning the GC with her nearest rival Kimberly
Bruckner (Saturn) at 11:42.
Karen Bockel (RONA) won the Criterium and finished third in the GC.
A sweep of all five stages for the RONA ladies.
Mademoiselle Jeanson attacked at the
Springs and quickly gained over five minutes on the climb,
another solo victory, and her second Tour of
Gila, to her extensive and
Kimberly Bruckner won the sprint with Karen Bockel when they raced in
5:47 after Genevieve had finished.
What can one say about Miss Jeanson? It appears, for the moment,
Her time in the opening ITT was 38:26.91, which would have placed her in
34th place in the Mens Pro
Her nearest rival
Kimberly Bruckner at
Jeanson said from the podium,
"I will be back next
the course is
tough, the competition with the best riders, the race is well organised
and we get great support."
I believe we have witnessed a unique moment in the
similar to when an aging Fausto Coppi raced against the espoir French
Jacques Anquetil, and when an older Anquetil raced against the
young Belgian rider Eddy Merckx.
the great French rider Jeanie Longo, the greatest
rider in history, and the young phenomena of Quebec, Genevieve Jeanson.
Although Madame Longo will race in the future, as Coppi did with Anquetil,
the heir-apparent Mademoiselle Jeanson has seized the moment. The
comparison is irresistable, both bitter and
that unique fraction
of time when the new young rider challenges the still strong, but older,
moment that will be added to the History of the Tour of
Anna Millward (Saturn) who went to the hospital for an allergic reaction to hazelnut flavoring in her morning coffee on
was riding the course solo on Sunday and powering up the Sapillo
She said she was feeling
should assure her fans that she is doing well and we will see her soon at the front of the results.
Mens Class 2
The mens 2 road race was fought over the same course as the
The only exception was a
10.8 mile shorter criterium.
Carlos Vargas (FCRC/Trek/VW) from Columbia took the leaders jersey on the second
with Brian Matter (Eclipse Racing)
Mark Schwab (Excel Sports) third.
From the third stage on the Podium seemed in no danger of changing with Vargas, Matter and James Mortenson (Tokyo
joining the leaders after a great ride on the Fort Bayard loop and maintaining their positions until
2 Gila Monster RR
(Cbike.com), Jon Stierwalt
(FCRC/Trek/VW), Brian Matter (Eclipse), Cameron Brenneman (KB Home), and
Peter Dahle (Paragon/Telluride) escaped from Carlos Vargas when he flatted on the Sapillo Climb.
Vargas finished 1:36 down, losing the leaders jersey to Matter by 6 seconds.
Michael Lange moved from fifth to third.
Carlos Vargas, riding alone, had made agreements to exchange support with other riders,
when " I flatted they
In spite of losing the
leader's jersey finishing second, Vargas has shown he is a young gun to watch in the future.
James Mortensen, a
rider, dropped to eleventh
should be put on the "Cadel Evans" list as a man to
watch in the future in both
Other "Young Guns" to watch in the future who had podium finishes or consistent placings during the Tour of Gila:
Kevin Livingston (Casati), Mark Schwab (Excel Sports), Devon Vigus (Sharpe Bicycle), Doug Ollerenshaw (Bike
Gallery/Trek), Hatcher Rosebrook (Fondriest/RRV), Jon Stierwalt (Fondriest), Martin Micah (Rio Grande/Monsoon), and
Rich Davis (Monsoon).
Hike and Bike's Jack
Brennan, who conducted a well-run and well-supported race.
Directors: Jack Brennan, Michelle Geels-Bighley and Sgt. Phillip Hickson; and the many volunteers who helped and
gave their time to make the race possible.
New Mexico National guard who acted as control for the race.
Gila webmaster, Rob Narvaez.
Holiday Inn Express, Silver City.
The USCF officials who once again tracked the results and made this world class event possible:
Chief Official: Tom Simonson
Chief Judge: Bill Wycoff
Assistant Judges: Cindy Smith, Fred Jimenez, Delfina Jimenez.
USA Cycling Regional Coordinator: Rogene Killen.
Road officials: Mike Spahle, Jim Lackner, Bill McLain, Ken Forbes, Oliver Spear, Jason Lockett, Don Russell, Nan
Laurie Pankay, Debbie Door, and Nancy Ellis.
Motor Officials: Dave Osborne, Jimmy Schwartz, Ted Fisher, Bill Bennett, Jim Yahn, and Jerry Penny.
All are thanked for their work and support that made this American Classic possible.
A passing note: I took over 500 Photos of the race
(not including the shots of
We are looking at making a CD available with these photos at a reasonable price.
If this is something you are interested in please let me know.
It will take a bit of time to select and produce the gallery of these photos on the site.
Thanks for reading and I'll see you on the road.