New Mexico's Tour of the Gila is a stage race like no other. It is held in the eclectic mining town of Silver City, and has been a regular stop on the U.S. domestic racing scene for decades. At one time the fields were filled with top professionals preparing for the Amgen Tour of California, or racing to get the needed hard miles at high altitude. The race still attracts plenty of UCI Continental pro riders, many of whom have WorldTour aspirations. This year saw familiar faces return: Floyds’s Pro Cycling D.S. Gord Fraser has been at Gila as a racer and now director for nearly 15 years, as has Wildlife Generation manager Danny Van Haute. Former mountain bike racer and U.S. team coach Mark Gullickson attended the race to watch his son race in the amateur category. The entire organization is held together by Jack Brennan, who has retired once, only to return to make sure the race doesn’t die. And the course is one of the most scenic and challenging in North America.
Casey B. Gibson's collection of images from stage 1 of the 2012 Tour de France
Casey B. Gibson is on hand as the 2012 Tour de France gets under way in Liège, Belgium
Casey B. Gibson trains his lenses on the Tour's first foray into the Massif Central.
Casey B. Gibson has dragged his camera bag across the pond yet again to help VeloNews.com cover the 2011 Tour de France.
Casey B. Gibson captures the world's top riders as they check out the courses at Australia's road world championships
It may be tough, but Casey Gibson shows that the course for Friday's Grand Prix de Québec also rates as one of the most beautiful on the North American calendar.