Rafael Montiel (Orgullo Antioqueno) won stage 1 of Tour of the Gila and took the GC lead after catching the remnants of the day’s breakaway on the final climb and riding alone to victory.
The day was marked by an early break of Guilliaume Boivin (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), Martin Kohler (Drapac), Erik Slack (IRT), Zack Noonan (Intermountain Livewell), Ian Holt (Airgas-Safeway), Ansel Dickey (California Giant-Specialized), John Murphy (UnitedHealthcare, and Anthony Canevari (Canyon-Shimano).
The group of eight accumulated a significant gap over the course of the 92-mile road race, and with 10 kilometers remaining, the peloton was still 7:15 behind.
As the break started up the final climb, Boivin and Kohler attacked and set off together. Their lead had fallen to 3:35 just inside of 5km to go. Then, Kohler faltered, and Boivin was away, off the front alone with two kilometers left, however, Montiel, who had been attempting to bridge to the front group throughout the day, was closing fast.
The Colombian put in an impressive turn of speed, passing Boivin and riding alone to win by 33 seconds. Boivin held on for second, and Montiel’s teammate, Christhian Montoya was third.
On Thursday, stage 2 will be the Inner Loop road race, a 76.2-mile race.