Wiles retains race lead heading into the final stage

In a surprise twist, 18-year-old Emma White took the downtown Silver City criterium for Rally Cycling team, powering ahead of Lauren Stephens (Tibco) and Lizzie Williams (Supermint-Hagens Berman) in the closing meters of the 25-lap race.

“There were attacks the last three laps of the race,” said White, who is racing the Tour of the Gila for the first time. “We lost one of our teammates yesterday in the time trial, she fell and broke her collarbone so we were down to 4 riders today. So we decided to use our teammates to cover attacks and I surfed on fast wheels and went on my own.”

“Coming through the last corner I was sixth wheel and it’s a long sprint so I followed some wheels and came around at the last moment and took it.”

It was a hot start to the UCI women’s penultimate stage that saw multiple attacks, but nothing stuck until Marie Blais (Landis-Trek) took a flyer off the front and stayed away for multiple laps. The Canadian ex-pro hockey player stayed away for around five laps before slipping back into the safety of the bunch.

Tibco was aggressive the latter part of the race in an attempt to put pressure on UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, but as the riders made the final turn into the finishing drag, White’s saavy and tactical sense brought her to the line more than a bike length ahead of Stephens.

Wiles holds a 27 second gap ahead of Leah Thomas (Sho-Air Twenty20) heading into stage 5. The women start at 9 a.m. (MDT).