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The Echelon Racing League series continues this coming weekend, December 4-6 with the Virtual Tour of the Gila hosted on the RGT cycling platform. VeloNews will be providing race coverage right here for each stage.
This is the second stop of eight on the circuit and will see riders take on a three-stage event contested over a criterium, a stage with a steep finishing climb, and a final stage that climbs and undulates into the finish.
Ben Thomas of Team Tor 2000 from the United Kingdom currently leads the men’s series, while Alana O’Mara of the US-registered Amy D. Foundation leads the women’s series.
Tour of the Gila race director Jack Brennan is excited about the event, and its impact on the Silver City, New Mexico community. Brennan said to expect live interviews with the New Mexico Lieutenant Governor local artists and ranchers, and some shared history about the Gila region from a member Chiricahua Apache Nation.
“Echelon Racing League is moving the needle and keeping road cycling alive during these times. I strongly believe what they have created is something special and that it will help to grow both virtual and in-real-life racing to a new level even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic,” Brennan said.
Stage 1 — The Silver City Crit (December 4, 6 p.m. EST) — will be contested over 20 laps in a recreation of Silver City, a historic town established in 1878. Racers will encounter a short, steep kicker every lap.
Stage 2 — The Mogollon road race (December 5, 12 p.m. EST) — is a recreation of the real-world event which usually kicks of the Tour of the Gila. Racers will have to navigate
Stage 3 — The Gila Monster road race (December 6, 11 a.m. EST) — starts out descending towards the virtual Cliff Dwellings National Monument Visitor Center, before turning around to make the category 1 climb to Spillo Crossing. The group will take on another climb, to the Wild Horse Mesa, and make its way to the Gila National Forest with a steep climb to the finish.
VeloNews will be providing race coverage here, with a free video stream and live race commentary provided by former professional road racer Garrett Peltonen — now a Silver City resident and professor at Western New Mexico University — alongside Brad Sohner.