It was a day of firsts at Tour of the Gila: Travis McCabe sprinted to his first victory in the race, and Jasmin Glaesser claimed her first career UCI victory on Thursday.
The men’s peloton caught a late breakaway in the closing kilometers of the 122.6km stage 2 around Fort Bayard, New Mexico. McCabe’s Holowesko – Citadel teammate Robin Carpenter went up the road inside of the final 10 kilometers, joined by Axeon Hagens Berman’s Tao Geoghegan Hart, and Rally’s Evan Huffman. Jamis chased hard and the trio were caught just before the finish. UnitedHealthcare’s Italian sprinter Marco Canola finished second, and Axeon’s Neilson Powless, who had a breakout victory last month in the Joe Martin Stage Race, was third.
“When we got to the final right hand turn, I looked back and it was kind of blown to bits,” Powless said. “I saw McCabe attack through the final corner but I was kind of gassed from trying to stay at the front. It was just a matter of trying to hold off Lachlan Morton.”
Jelly Belly’s Morton was able to keep the GC lead, which he claimed Wednesday by winning the first stage. Rally’s Rob Britton is 25 seconds behind, and UHC’s Daniel Jaramillo is third, 1:23 behind.
In the 119-kilometer women’s race, Rally’s Glaesser got the better of Twenty16 – Sho-Air’s Leah Thomas after a late-race breakaway. UnitedHealthcare’s Abby Mickey, who was also on the attack in stage 2, soloed in to finish third.
“I had a tough day yesterday,” Glaesser said. “I was disappointed with myself, felt like I let my team down. I wanted to fight back. I won’t settle for a bad day to start the race. My team rode their hearts out. It’s my fifth time here, and this has been the hardest.”
Defending champion Mara Abbott (Amy D. Foundation) kept her overall lead after stage 2, and Glaesser took the lead in the sprint classification. Mickey moved up to second-place overall, 49 seconds behind, and Tibco – SVB’s Brianna Walle is third, 1:37 back.
On Friday, the race offers a 26-kilometer time trial around Tyrone, an out-and-back course with a healthy dose of climbing — 362 meters.