By Bryan Jew, VeloNews Senior Writer
On Thursday, the racers at New Mexico’s Tour of the Gila encountered their second test of the five-day stage race, and once again, Rona’s Genevieve Jeanson and Mercury’s Scott Moninger came out on top. Jeanson and Moninger each won their second consecutive stage, increasing their overall leads over chasers from Saturn.
In the women’s race, Jeanson had already established a big lead with her day 1 time trial, which meant that the other teams would be on the offensive, trying to wear down the 19-year-old Canadian. Saturn took the initiative early, launching Lyne Bessette at the first bonus sprint. That first attack was short-lived, but later, a breakaway of five – Catherine Marsal (Intersports), Pam Schuster (AutoTrader.com), Laura Charameda (Michela Fanini), Stacey Peters (800.com) and Ina Teutenberg (Saturn) – put Jeanson’s Rona team into full chase mode on the rolling, windy roads between Silver City and Mogollan Pass, where the 70-mile race ended with five miles of tough climbing.
“My team did an awesome job until the bottom of the climb,” said Jeanson, “so I could keep my energy for the climb.”
The Rona-led pack caught the break in the little town of Glenwood, about the only pocket of civilization on the whole course. At that point, Jeanson took over, accelerating through town. She was followed by a trio of Saturn riders: Kimberly Bruckner, Bessette and Anna Millward.
But even with those numbers, there was no stopping Jeanson, who rode all of the Saturn riders off her wheel, and soloed to victory, with Bessette second and Bruckner third, both more than two minutes back. 800.com’s Andrea Ratkovic and Intersports Elizabeth Emery rounded out the top 5, each more than six minutes behind Jeanson.
“We did exactly what we planned to do, which was to tire Genevieve out,” said Bruckner. “We did all we can, and she still wins ….”
Jeanson now leads Bruckner by 3:53 in the overall, with Bessette at 3:54 and Millward a whopping 8:46 behind. An even scarier thought? Jeanson said she may not have been at her best on Thursday. “I think I did a good ride, but I really wasn’t feeling very well today,” she said. “I don’t think it’s my best day, but hopefully, I’ll recover well and tomorrow will be better.”
The men’s 92-mile race played out in similar fashion to the women’s, with Saturn and a handful of others trying to put the pressure on race-leader Moninger. The early break consisted of Saturn’s Tim Johnson, Zaxby’s Dirk Friel and Corona-Citibank’s Siddharta Camil. Saturn’s Trent Klasna would cross the gap, and then he and Johnson went off together, trying to force Moninger’s hand.
Fortunately for Moninger, he had a full contingent of Mercury teammates to set tempo all day, and the Saturn threat was brought back before the race finished on the same climb as the women’s.
With the a large group heading into the climb, Landis-Trek-VW’s Scott Price was the first to make a move, but Moninger countered quickly.
“Moninger just countered me so decisively, I didn’t even bother to go with him,” said Price.
Instead, Moninger was followed by Saturn’s Matt DeCanio, and two riders from the Mexican Tecos team, Jesus Zarate and Florencio Ramos.
None of those three could hang on, however, and Moninger rode away solo. Meanwhile, Price came back strong to finish second. “[Moninger] kept looking over his shoulder, and I made up about 20 seconds. It was a dream ride,” said Price, who finished only 19 seconds behind the Mercury rider.
Behind, DeCanio hung on for third place, while Prime Alliance’s Michael Creed put in a strong climb for fourth place. Saturn’s Eric Wohlberg was fifth, a minute behind Moninger, and now sits 1:51 behind Moninger in the overall, while Price holds down third, at 2:22.
“As the days click on, it’ll be harder and harder to contol things,” said Moninger, “so today was a good day for me to blow things open and get a little more time on second and third.”
Both the men and the women will face another tough challenge on Friday’s stage 3, the 73-mile Inner Loop road race.
Men, stage 2
1. Scott Moninger, Mercury, 92 mi in 3:50:34; 2. Scott Price, Landis-Trek-VW, at 0:19; 3. Matt DeCanio, Saturn, at 0:41; 4. Michael Creed, Prime Alliance, at 0:46; 5. Eric Wohlberg, Saturn, at 1:00; 6. Jose Robles, Corona-Citibank, s.t.; 7. Doug Ziewacz, 7UP-Colorado Cyclist, at 1:01; 8. Jose Zarate, Tecos, at 1:18; 9. Florencio Ramos, Tecos, at 1:32; 10. Drew Miller, Landis-Trek-VW, at 1:36; 11. John Hunt, Lombardi Sports, at 1:55; 12. John Lieswyn, 7UP-Colorado Cyclist, at 1:59; 13. Andrew Bajadali, Excel Sports, at 2:03; 14. Svein Tuft, Broadmark Capital, at 2:07; 15. Russell Stevenson, Broadmark Capital, at 2:14; 16. Arquimides Lam, Tecos, at 2:17; 17. Rusty Beall, Prime Alliance, s.t.; 18. Jimi Killen, THF Racing, at 2:26; 19. Duane Dickey, Bianchi-Turkey, at 2:29; 20. Phil Zajicek, Mercury, s.t.
Women, stage 2
1. Genevieve Jeanson, Rona, 70mi in 3:05:59; 2. Lyne Bessette, Saturn, at 2:19; 3. Kimberly Bruckner, Saturn, at 2:31; 4. Andrea Ratkovic, 800.com, at 6:19; 5. Elizabeth Emery, Intersports, at 6:25; 6. Rhonda Quick, Jane Cosmetics, at 6:26; 7. Anna Millward, Saturn, at 6:32; 8. Jessica Phillips, Intersports, at 6:51; 9. Julie Young, AutoTrader.com, at 6:52; 10. Katrina Berger, 800.com, at 7:10; 11. Sarah Konrad, Boise Cascade, at 7:19; 12. Kelli Emmett, at 7:31; 13. Pam Schuster, AutoTrader.com, at 7:36; 14. Lysle Wilhelmi, 800.com, at 7:41; 15. Marg Fedyna, BOW Cycle-CMC, at 7:58; 16. Susy Pryde, AutoTrader.com, at 8:21; 17. Sarah Ulmer, AutoTrader.com, s.t.; 18. Gabriella Gozales de Ferrat, Rona, at 9:16; 19. Carmen D’Alusio, Volvo-Cannondale, s.t.; 20. Kori Kelly, Procter & Gamble, at 9:23.
1. Moninger, 4:25:05; 2. Wohlberg, at 1:51; 3. Price, at 2:22; 4. DeCanio, at 2:28; 5. Ziewacz, at 2:32; 6. Creed, at 3:06; 7. Lieswyn, at 4:04; 8. Zajicek, at 4:22; 9. Clark Sheehan, 7UP-Colorado Cyclist, at 4:23; 10. Miller, at 5:01; 11. Zarate, at 5:12; 12. Tuft, at 5:15; 13. Ramos, at 5:19; 14. Jason McCartney, Jelly Belly, at 5:56; 15. Bajadali, at 6:00; 16. Beall, at 6:06; 17. Killen, at 6:15; 18. Robles, at 6:27; 19. Lam, at 6:28; 20. Hunt, at 6:45.
1. Jeanson, 3:44:30; 2. Bruckner, at 3:53; 3. Bessette, at 3:54; 4. Millward, at 8:46; 5. Emery, at 9:21; 6. Phillips, at 10:01; 7. Ratkovic, at 10:37; 8. Berger, at 10:43; 9. Young, at 11:11; 10. Ulmer, at 11:16; 11. Schuster, s.t.; 12. Quick, at 12:37; 13. Konrad, at 12:53; 14. Wilhelmi, at 13:10; 15. Gonzales de Ferrat, at 14:00; 16. D’Alusio, at 14:28; 17. Emmett, at 14:30; 18. Pryde, at 14:48; 19. Kristy Scrymgeour, Saturn, at 15:55; 20. Kelly, at 15:58.