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May 1/04 12:12 pm - Symmetrics Cycling Team Report from Tour of the Gila

Posted by Editoress on 05/1/04

Symmetrics Cycling at Tour of the Gila: Day 1 – 3 Update
Courtesy Mark Cunningham

Men’s Elite Team Race Report from Tour of the Gila, Stage Race, Silver City, NM (April 28 – May 2, 2004)


Stage 1: Symmetrics Cycling isn’t in Kansas Anymore

Cam Evans finishes 6th in opening windy Time Trial at Tour of the Gila

The 18th edition of the Tour of the Gila in Silver City, New Mexico started with a 26 km hilly and very windy time trial that was like the opening scene from the Wizard of Oz. In a day when it paid to start early Symmetrics rider Cam Evans put in a solid ride to finish 1:35 down and in 6th position, ased Aida’s Bail Bonds team. Many top riders that started later due to start times based on alphabetical order found themselves battling 70+ kph winds and dust. One of the last of the early starters Scott Moninger of Healthnet/Maxis finished second on unheralded stage winner Ryan Blickem of the Albuquerque b d just over a minute back of Blickem. Many other top riders found themselves three to eight minutes down. Riders were reluctant to use aerobars on the return portion of the trip as they were getting thrown around pretty badly. Symmetrics rider Marsh Cooper also put in a solid ride in 20th 2:40 back of the winner.

Stage 2: The Tornado Continues in Silver City

Cooper Climbs with the best

The day dawned with little to no wind as Tour of the Gila riders faced a 152 km first road stage. The profile for the days course was relatively flat for the first 142 kilometers with the mountain top finish near Mogollon at 6800 feet. The first break of the day went clear about 20 km into the stage with 2 riders gaining a maximum of 5 minutes at the 60 km mark. Chuck Coyle started the day 2:41 down on the leader so Coyle was in fact the leader on the road for many kilometers. The Aida’s Bail Bond team of race leader Ryan Blickem rode tempo on the front for the better part of 100 km with some help from Healtnet/Maxis and the break was finally absorbed about 15 km before the final 10 km climb. As the race progressed the wind began to rise in strength. For the most part the peloton saw a cross tail wind and Symmetrics riders made sure they were near the front keeping team leader Cam Evans protected until the final climb. Just before the climb the pace was increased dramatically and as the riders made the right turn to start the climb the cross winds splintered the group into smithereens.

Symmetrics riders Cam Evans, Will Routley, and Marsh Cooper made the front group after the windy false flat halfway section of the climb. All the major players were present including the race leader resplendent in his pink leaders jersey. Cooper continued to stay with the leaders as Routley and then Evans slowly fell off the pace. Cooper continued to shadow World Mountain Bike Champion Roland Green as the front group was whittled down. Scott Moninger then attacked and crossed the line with a 20 second gap on the next rider. Riders then crossed the finish line in ones and twos. Marsh Cooper had an outstanding day finishing in 19th only 2:29 behind stage winner Moninger. Routley and Evans were the next Symmetrics riders to cross the line in 33rd and 35th respectively.

Symmetrics riders now sit in 12th (Cooper) and 15th (Evans) in the overall general classification and as a team Symmetrics is in 3rd place out of seventeen teams.

Stage 3 Wind dies down at Gila but hills get tougher

Symmetrics rider Pinfold take 4th place in 3rd stage at Tour of the Gila

It was a day of highs and lows for the Symmetrics Team. After returning from the previous stage Cam Evans became quite sick due to dehydration and it was off to the hospital for 3 litres of IV liquid with electrolytes. Cam got lots of rest and would start the next day but the altitude and dehydration was too much for him and he was forced to abandon very early in the stage. The same fate was also met by Symmetrics riders Scott Goguen, due to a crash, and later by Dylan Sebel as the altitude, hills and early attacks took their toll.

Will Routley was involved in an early break that lasted the better part of 35 km while a solo rider, Andrew Bajadali of Team Ofoto was the solo leader. Bajadali, sitting in 7th overall, was not going to be allowed to escape so Healthnet/Maxis and Trek/Landis team riders set tempo at the front reeling the leader in with 50 km remaining in the 130 km event. The final 30 km featured a main climb in two steps and the remaining three Symmetrics riders set up the final finish anticipating a group sprint. As the kilometers wound down small breaks would get away only to be reeled back. In the final 2 km race leader Moninger shot up the road with Monex rider Davide Frattini. Will Routley and then Marsh Cooper went to the front with Andrew Pinfold in tow bringing the riders together for the final sprint where Pinfold was able to take fourth in the group finish. Due to small time gaps at the finish Symmetrics dropped to 4th in the team standings starting tomorrows 60 km Criterium. However, with the difficulty of the course today and the days of racing adding up Marsh Cooper has now moved into 10th place in the overall with only two days of racing left including Sunday’s Gila Monster Road Race.


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