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Stage 2 Vuelta Chihuahua

The pressure of five rated climbs — and one harrowing descent — made for a decisive stage 2 at Mexico’s Vuelta Chihuahua on Tuesday. Finishing on top at the conclusion of the 188.7km mostly uphill grind from Parral to Guachochi was Colombian Gregario Ladino (Tecos-Trek), who late in the race soloed away from breakaway companion — and defending Chihuahua champion — Francisco Mancebo (Fercase-Rota dos Moveis). Ladino crossed the line in 4:59:27, with Mancebo trailing in eight seconds later and Tecos-Trek’ Juan Magallanes completing the podium, at 0:22.

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By Jason Sumner

2008 Vuelta Chihuahua, stage 2: Stage winner Gregorio Ladino celebrates.

2008 Vuelta Chihuahua, stage 2: Stage winner Gregorio Ladino celebrates.

Photo: Jason Sumner

The pressure of five rated climbs — and one harrowing descent — made for a decisive stage 2 at Mexico’s Vuelta Chihuahua on Tuesday.

Finishing on top at the conclusion of the 188.7km mostly uphill grind from Parral to Guachochi was Colombian Gregario Ladino (Tecos-Trek), who late in the race soloed away from breakaway companion — and defending Chihuahua champion — Francisco Mancebo (Fercase-Rota dos Moveis). Ladino crossed the line in 4:59:27, with Mancebo trailing in eight seconds later and Tecos-Trek’ Juan Magallanes completing the podium, at 0:22.

Ladino, who won this spring’s Tour of the Gila in New Mexico, takes over the overall lead.

American Tom Peterson (Garmin-Chipotle) was fourth, at 0:24, taking over the under-23 leader’s jersey and putting himself in strong overall contention. The shorthanded Garmin team also snagged the KoM jersey, thanks to Patrick McCarty, who claimed first-place points on three of the five climbs and was second and fifth on the other two.

3rd Vuelta Chihuahua
Stage 2, Parral to Guachochi, 188.7km


Winner: Colombian Gregario Ladino (Tecos-Trek) soloed away late to take the stage 2 win
Leader: Ladino takes over from stage 1 winner Javier Benitez (Benfica). He is eight seconds up on 2007 champion Francisco Mancebo (Fercase-Rota dos Moveis)
Under-23: American Tom Peterson (Garmin-Chipotle) was fourth overall Tuesday, and is now 1:36 ahead of Spain’s Sergio Domingez (Contentpolis-Murcia)
KoM: American Patrick McCarty (Garmin-Chipotle) claimed first-place points on three of the five climbs and was second and fifth on the other two. McCarty leads Bernardo Colex (Tecos-Trek) 32-16
Points: Juan Magallanes (Tecos-Trek) has a 17-10 lead over teammate and overall race leader Ladino
Team: Tecos-Trek is on top with a total time of 24:59:13. Fercase-Rota dos Moveis is second, at 1:46
Peloton: 117 started, but only 114 finished. Former Tour de France great Raúl Alcalá was among the DNFs
Next: Stage 3, a 155.9km grind from Guachochi to Creel that includes seven rated climbs, including two cat. 1s and a cat. 3 finishing climb that tops out at 8173 feet above sea level

On the other end of the emotional spectrum was 44-year-old Raúl Alcalá, who saw his return to racing after nearly a decade away from competition ended by a crash on the long descent that came near the race’s halfway point. According to one of the race photographers, Alcalá was caught on the far outside of a tight hairpin and didn’t make the turn, instead skidding off the road and into the dirt.

The two-time Tour de France stage winner was treated by race medical staff for a cut on his face and what appeared to be a left ankle injury. After the race he was spotted with a compress on his face while sitting inside the team car, but the Rica Burgeur rider declined to speak with the press.

The first Mexican to ride the Tour de France retired from the pro peloton in 1994, but started his comeback Monday by finishing safely in the bunch at the end of stage 1. A day ahead of this seven-stage tour around Mexico’s largest state, Alcalá told VeloNews that he’d caught the cycling bug once more and had dreams of returning to the sport’s biggest races. Whether or not Tuesday’s crash puts an end to that dream remains to be seen.

2008 Vuelta Chihuahua, stage 2: Garmin's Tom Peterson lives the dream.

2008 Vuelta Chihuahua, stage 2: Garmin’s Tom Peterson lives the dream.

Photo: Jason Sumner

What is clear is that despite bringing only five of a possible eight riders, Garmin-Chipotle looks a solid bet to come away with a good chunk of the Vuelta Chihuahua’s $80,000 prize purse. McCarty owns a 32-16 lead over Tecos’ Bernardo Colex in the KoM competition, and under-23 leader Peterson is one of just four riders within 90 seconds of current overall leader Ladino.

Scott-American Beef ‘s Angel Gomez is fifth, also at 0:24.

“It was just about a perfect day,” said Garmin team director Johnny Weltz. “We had Pat out there grabbing points but not digging too deep in the morning, and then Tom coming through at the end. The race is basically down to five guys now, and Tom was looking stronger and stronger as the day went on. I think he’ll be good tomorrow and his time trialing has gotten a lot better, so he should be okay on Thursday, too.”

Next up in Mexico is another tough day in the saddle, this time a 155.9km run from Guachochi to Creel that includes seven rated climbs, including two cat. 1s and a cat. 3 finishing climb that tops out at 8173 feet above sea level.

2008 Vuelta Chihuahua, stage 2: Medical staff treat Alcala.

2008 Vuelta Chihuahua, stage 2: Medical staff treat Alcala.

Photo: Alex Aguirre/Pro Sport Photo

“The good thing for us is that Tecos has to work now,” continued Weltz. “They’ve got the strongest team, and two in the top three, so it only makes sense.”

The bad news is that Garmin flew to Mexico instead of bringing the team truck, meaning no time trial bikes for Thursday’s 18.9km rolling TT from Pitoreal to Divisadero.

“We thought it was more uphill,” lamented Peterson, who hails from Seattle, making Tuesday’s 7700-feet finishing altitude a little tough on the lungs. “At the end there were two up the road, and then the three of us chasing. But the other Tecos guy sat on, so me and [Gomez] just went as hard as we could to try to catch.”

2008 Vuelta Chihuahua, stage 2: Copper Canyon appears to be endless.

2008 Vuelta Chihuahua, stage 2: Copper Canyon appears to be endless.

Photo: Jason Sumner

“The main move basically happened over the top of last climb. [Ladino] was killing it — and we’re up pretty high right now — so for me it was better to just ride tempo because it’s so hard to recover. I don’t know where he comes from, but man he was on fire.”

Photo Gallery

Results

Stage 2 Results

1 LADINO, Gregorio TECOS-TREK in 4:59:27

2 MANCEBO, Francisco FERCASE-ROTA DOS MOV at 08

3 MAGALLANES, Juan P. TECOS-TREK at 22

4 PETERSON, Thomas GARMIN CHIPOTLE at 24

5 GOMEZ M, J. Angel SCOTT-AMERICAN BEEF at 24

6 CASTA—O, Carlos XACOBEO-GALICIA at 01:47

7 BENITEZ, Javier BENFICA at 02:00

8 DONALD, Jason GARMIN CHIPOTLE at 02:00

9 TOTSCHNIG, Harald ELK HAUS-SIMPLON at 02:00

10 RUCKER, Stefan ELK HAUS-SIMPLON at 02:00

GC after stage 2

1 LADINO, Gregorio TECOS-TREK 08:18:57

2 MANCEBO, Francisco FERCASE-ROTA DOS MOV at 08

3 MAGALLANES, Juan P. TECOS-TREK at 22

4 PETERSON, Thomas GARMIN CHIPOTLE at 24

5 GOMEZ M, J. Angel SCOTT-AMERICAN BEEF at 24

6 CASTA—O, Carlos XACOBEO-GALICIA at 01:47

7 BENITEZ, Javier BENFICA at 02:00

8 CAMA—O, Iker SCOTT-AMERICAN BEEF at 02:00

9 CARDOSO, Andre FERCASE-ROTA DOS MOV at 02:00

10 JIMENEZ, Eladio FERCASE-ROTA DOS MOV at 02:00