Alex Howes, Freddy Cruz and Lachlan Morton, with their teammates’ support, made it a race into the final stage of the SRAM Tour of the Gila. In the end it was Morton who posted a huge result on the final stage, taking second and moving into third overall. DS Chann McRae sent this report:
On May 1st, 2011 I witnessed an epic day at the SRAM Tour of Gila. It was one of those special races where you get to see riders push themselves to the edge. On one particular climb where legends are born, an old ‘dawg’ stamped his authority. His name is Paco Mancebo, and he rode the entire field off his wheel on the infamous “Gila Monster” climb.
Behind him a bunch of 19-23 year olds were in a big fight of their own; Lachlan Morton, Dale Parker, George Bennet, Alex Howes, Freddy Cruz, and Joseph Dombrowski — all Chipotle Development Team and Trek-Livestrong riders. The GC podium for 2nd and 3rd was wide open while Mancebo was locking in the top step.
We pulled in a group of nine to bring back the dangerous moves, we launched our own attacks at the most opportune times and teammates sacrificed everything they had for each other. Ultimately it came down to nine guys in the last kilometer. Alex Howes launched, and was marked, then Lachlan countered and held on to get 2nd behind Mancebo. He got enough time to move into 3rd overall, and Howes made a GC jump up to 4th overall.
Personally I wish all races were this cool. Thank you to all the sponsors who support youth cycling. The next generation is here, and they are already making history!
More photos from SRAM Tour of the Gila: