Gila Day 5
Bontrager/Livestrong Boys take 1,2 in Gila Monster Stage
(May 6, 2012) Pinos Altos NM- The final Stage of this years Tour of the Gila was, as always, the infamous Gila Monster Road Race. With five KOM’s and nearly 10,000ft. of climbing, this is the day that can make or break the tour for any team or rider. For the Bontrager/Livestrong Team, it could have gone either way, but the team was coming into the final stage of the tour with plenty of momentum.
Joe Dombrowski was sitting second in the GC standings, only 23 seconds behind United Health Care’s Rory Sutherland, with Francesco Mancebo in third at 1:23 off the lead. With Lawson Craddock, Ian Boswell, Nathan Brown and the rest of the Bontrager Team all putting in strong performances throughout the week, things were looking good for the final showdown.
As the race rolled out of town, a large group of about 20 riders had gained a gap by the time the caravan rolled past the Santa Rita Mine on the way to San Lorenzo. Tucked safely in that group were Ian Boswell and Lawson Craddock. This group ended up building a 5 plus minute gap, and by the time the race had reached the turn around at the Cliff Dwellings, the gap was still in the 4:30 range.
On the climb up to Anderson Vista, Craddock and Competitive Cyclist rider Chad Beyer dropped the hammer and left the breakaway. The chase group splintered the as riders struggled to keep pace with Craddock and Beyers. As the two leaders continued to push the pace, Boswell remained in the chase group, not wanting to drag anyone up to his teammate Craddock.
As the two leaders continued to hold their gap up the Sapillo climb, Boswell made his move. With an awesome display of power, he bridged up to Craddock and Beyers, closing a nearly 1 minute gap. Then it was two against one with the Bontrager boys on the upper hand. Behind, Sutherland, Dombrowski, and Mancebo were left to defend their overall GC standings on their own as the entire peloton detonated into pieces up the last rollercoaster climb to the finish at Pinos Altos.
Craddock and Boswell rolled in together, with Craddock taking the stage win. After the race Boswell had this to say about the teams overall performance; “Our team has been getting some criticism all year for getting into the Tour of California. People weren’t really sure if our team was ready for it, but I think here at the Gila we came out and showed that every stage we were competitive.”
With multiple stage podiums, Best Young Rider Jersey, and winner of the overall Team GC, there is no doubt that Axel Merckx and his Bontrager Livestrong Team are heading in the right direction as the season begins.