HERNANDEZ THIRD, CLAIMS SPRINT JERSEY AT GILA
May 2ND, 2019
Hoehn jumps to eighth on GC
Against the historical backdrop of a 133-year-old Fort Bayard army installation, Aevolo set up a near-perfect finale at Stage 2 of the Tour of the Gila that saw Michael Hernandez sprint to third place and into the lead of the sprint standings.
Alex Hoehn continued his consistent performance, finishing fourth and moving from 10th to eighth place overall, 53 seconds behind.
“The race today was pretty solid I’d say for the team,” Hernandez said. “We wanted one of two things to happen: either get a guy in the break, or a field sprint. We got the best of both worlds.”
On Wild Horse Mesa, the most technical and longest descent of the day, Lance Haidet found himself in a six-rider move that put a dangerous gap on the peloton, and race leader James Piccoli (Elevate KHS). After a long chase, Haidet’s breakaway was caught with four kilometers left in the stage.
“Things were pretty tame until the first intermediate sprint, which Hernandez was able to take,” Haidet said. “There were tons of attacks going up the first two KOMs, but the break didn’t end up going until the decent. The six of us road super steady until the final KOM, when the fireworks started going off. We ended up getting caught in the final three kilometers.”
The riders’ pressed the reset button and prepared for a bunch sprint into Fort Bayard, where Hernandez seized his opportunity for a result.
“The chase was on the race wasn’t too hectic until the final five kilometers, but coming into the finish, I was positioned perfectly on Travis McCabe’s wheel,” Hernandez went on to say. “In the end, I didn’t have enough to come around him or his lead-out man. After all was done and dusted, we came away with a third and fourth place, and I took over the lead in the sprint competition going into the time trial tomorrow.”
Tomorrow’s stage is a 16.5 mile (26km) out and back time trial, featuring 1,188 feet (362 meters) of total elevation gain. The first rider will set off at 9:15 a.m. MST.
Photos: Tosh Clements