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May 1st,  2019

Despite multiple crashes causing delays during crucial points in stage 1 of the Tour of the Gila, the Aevolo men’s team rebounded quickly, charging up the final Mogollon climb and placing three riders in the top 15. Alex Hoehn was the team’s top finisher in 10thplace, just 48 seconds behind the stage winner. Teammate Tyler Stites was close behind in 11th, 53 seconds in arrears. 


Luis Villalobos was 14thon the day, one minute and 39 seconds back and in good position for the rest of the week. 



Today’s stage is always a tricky one,” Hoehn said. You don’t know how you will feel because the race is quite easy till the final climb. We entered the final climb and, going into it, I felt good and was in a good position. The plateau had a massive crosswind section and hurt me going into the last four kilometers. I rode in the first group most of the way up and finished as high as I could. Today’s stage was a race of attrition so you do what you can and hope it’s good.”


After leaving downtown Silver City for the 114-kilometer stage, the peloton took almost an hour establishing a breakaway, and when it did, Michael Hernandez found himself in a group of two with 80 kilometers left in the stage. It would be a long day in the saddle for the 21-year-old, but the tactics were just what team director Michael Creed ordered.


“We knew we wanted a guy up the road, but we're hoping that it'd be a bit of a bigger group,” Hernandez said. “Lance Haidet, Laurent Gervais, and I were tasked with tagging moves so from the start we were all pretty active. Finally, I got away with one rider from DC Bank, and we rolled together pretty hard through the second points sprint. It was a hard day out there, but I'm happy to have taken one max point sprint in the sprint competition.”


Hernandez and his breakaway companion, DC Bank’s Travis Samuel were reabsorbed just before the start of the final ascent up Mogollon, where the fireworks started in the fight for the stage win.


Tomorrow’s stage is a 122-kilometer loop starting in nearby Fort Bayard. The route takes in 5,781 feet (1,762 meters) of climbing and three KOMs, however traditionally finishes in a reduced field sprint. The stage starts at 9 a.m. MST. 


Photos: Tosh Clements

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