Maddy Ward (InstaFund Racing) sprinted to glory Saturday after crashes and confusion marred the UCI Women’s Tour of the Gila Silver City Downtown Criterium, but one thing remained constant — the gap between the top two overall leaders.
Lauren De Crescenzo (CINCH Rise) and Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB) still only have 14 seconds between them even after both went down in the mayhem.
“I crossed the line in first, and I think that was as big of a shock to me as it was to other people,” Ward said. “My team protected me all day long, and I hid from the wind and I felt comfortable and confident the whole race. My teammates were there for me every step of the way.”
The 27-mile, 25-lap crit stayed mostly tame before attacks began flying to pick up intermediate-sprint, or prime, cash prizes. About five laps into the race De Crescenzo, Doebel-Hickok, DNA Pro Cycling’s sprinter Maggie Coles-Lyster, who was a race favorite, and others hit the pavement.
De Crescenzo and Doebel-Hickok rejoined the race, but Coles-Lyster hit her head and had to abandon.
“Today was our day,” Coles-Lyster said. “We have been racing crits all last year. I was really excited about this, but unfortunately there was a crash, not too long into the race, maybe on Lap 5, and a rider hit something in the road and ended up on her top tube and crashing, and it was just unavoidable for me. I hit her as well, I went down, my body’s mostly OK, but I hit my head, and so I pulled myself from the race, mostly as precautionary.”