Jaramillo, Joyce round out podium in second and third, respectively

A well-timed attack just two kilometers from the finish saw Matteo Dal-Cin claim victory for his new Rally Cycling team. The Canadian 26-year-old took advantage of a brief lapse in the field’s organization and held his effort to the line. Daniel Jaramillo (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) finished second while Dal-Cin’s teammate Colin Joyce took third place.

No longer finishing on the summit of Mogollon because of bad road conditions, the new 143.3km route from Silver City to Whitewater Mesa still offered more of a challenge than many expected. Similar to the outcome of the women’s race, Dal-Cin made his move when his teammates swarmed the front of the peloton.

“The team led into the bottom, it’s was great because we had four guys there at the bottom,” Dal-Cin said. “We were just marking guys that were attacking, just as we crossed the cattle guard to come into the flat section. It kind of eased off a little bit, so I took that chance to attack because it was all of my teammates up front so they let me go. They patrolled behind and I just gave it my all right to the finish.”

The start of the 31st edition of Tour of the Gila wasn’t without action. Teams took turns sending riders off the front, but a combination of headwind, terrain and fresh legs denied anyone a chance until after Alex Hoehn (Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling) won the first bonus sprint 30 km in. Countering the intermediate sprint, Conor O’Brien (H&R Block Pro Racing) dangled off the front solo for a few miles before being reeled back in by UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling and Rally Cycling.

O’Brien’s teammate Marc-Antoine Nadon countered around 50 km into the race and established a healthy gap, eventually helped along by Canyon Bicycle teammates Chad Beyer and Michael Burleigh who saw their chance and quickly bridged across to the H&R Block rider.

The three worked well together over the course of the race, building up a lead of more than six minutes through the second sprint, won by Nadon.

After the intermediate sprint, Nadon left the break leaving the two Canyon teammates to forge ahead alone. With the gap slowly disintegrating at around 50 km left in the race, Burleigh also called it quits.

Beyer put up a hard fight but was caught with 10 km left in the stage. After that, Jelly Belly and Rally Cycling took charge on the front, setting a high pace that discouraged any brave souls from attempting an escape.

From there, the race reset with the big names jockeying for pole position with 5 km to go. It was the Rally team who got the upper hand over main rivals UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, with six of their riders making up the top ten.

Tomorrow’s stage starts at Fort Bayard at 9am MDT. The 122.6 km loop will feature more than 5,700 feet of climbing.