The 32nd edition of the Tour of the Gila is fast approaching and, as in years past, many diverse men’s and women’s UCI teams have signed on to take on the challenging five-day race.
“Myself and a number of folks in our community have put in ton of work preparing for this year’s race,” Tour of the Gila Race Director Jack Brennan said. “The reward for all of us is to see all of the athletes who have decided to come to our community and race our event. I am so pleased with the quality of athletes from many parts of this country and from a number of foreign countries that will participating in the 2018 Tour of the Gila.”
Returning champion Evan Huffman (RALLY Cycling) will be taking the start line in Silver City to once again prove he is worthy of the Gila crown. Huffman is surrounded by a strong Rally team including 2015 overall winner, Rob Britton and Eric Young, who holds the record for most stage wins at Gila (4).
Returning to unseat Huffman is 2017 second place finisher, Serghei Tvetcov (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling). His teammate, Gavin Mannion, fourth in last year, will also be looking to improve his GC.
“I’m excited for Tour of the Gila this year, especially the return of the Mogollon mountain top finish on stage 1,” Mannion said. “I think we have a really strong and well-balanced team for this year’s race. We’re aiming high and looking to be on the top step of the podium a few times this week.”
On the women’s side, Tyler Wiles will not be returning to defend her Tour of the Gila overall title. However, second place finisher and multiple stage winner in 2017, Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) is fresh from an overall victory at Joe Martin Stage Race and is looking for more this week with a stacked UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team.
“We’re really exciting to take this momentum we’re feeling from Joe Martin into Gila,” Hall said. “We finished first, third and fourth in GC and I think we’re all climbing quite well right now. I think that will put us into a strong position at the hillier Gila. For myself, I am excited that that Mogollon climb is back its full form.”
The Australian and New Zealand-based Roxsolt-Attaquer squad has arrived in the USA for the first stage race of the USAC Pro Road Tour, the UCI 2.2 Tour of the Gila. Their squad includes seasoned Italian racer, Valentina Scandolara, winner of UCI Giro del Trentino Alto Adige – Südtirol (’14) and 2015 Tour Down Under.
“This is a very beautiful course, amazing scenery and it was nice to ride tranquilo to spin out the legs after our international flights,” said Scandolara after arriving in Silver City.
The Rally women’s team is also coming back to Silver City with former winners, including Emma White who won the downtown Silver City criterium last year. On the hunt for the best young rider jersey will be Canadian Sara Poidevin, who already claimed the white jersey at the Cascade Classic last year.