Rory Sutherland (AUS) capped an outstanding week of racing in the desert southwest for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, taking the overall win at the 26th Annual SRAM Tour of the Gila. Sutherland started off the Tour of the Gila with a victory in Stage 1 and he and his Teammates never relinquished the lead. Earning multiple podiums and top 10 finishes throughout the grueling race Team UnitedHealthcare protected the leader’s jersey from beginning to end. Competitive Cyclist’s Chad Beyer and Bontrager-Livestrong’s Joe Dombrowski rounded out the top three in the General Classification, finishing second and third, respectively.
Sutherland talked about his win in New Mexico, stating, “This was not easy, it was tough. The boys did a great job getting us to this point and sometimes you have to put it on your shoulders and bring it home. When your Teammates ride so hard for you, you don’t have a choice. You have to pay them back for what they’ve done and show them how much their effort means. We are heading in the direction we want and are seeing the hard work of the past few months start to pay off.”
Sutherland added, “The other teams were great, especially Competitive Cyclist and Bontrager-Livestrong. Simply a tremendous effort from everyone racing here at SRAM Tour of the Gila.”
General Manager and Team Director, Mike Tamayo, said, “The SRAM Tour of the Gila is a great stage race and its good for us to get a stage race win on US soil. It’s important for our title sponsor, UnitedHealthcare, and for all of our sponsors. Winning the overall at Gila and watching the boys race up the Gila monster reassured us that the Team has done all the right things this spring.”
Tamayo continued, “Today the Team did exactly what it needed to do. Jonny (Clarke), Davide (Frattini), Ben (Day) and Chris (Jones) rode the front of the race like superstars. Jeff and Jason were in the breakaway and once the breakaway made it over the biggest climb, those two guys were in a select group that Rory, Marc (de Maar), Competitive Cyclist’s Paco Mancebo, and all the top riders where in. Jeff and Jason rode their butts off, closing the gap from five minutes to three minutes. Then, the last 10km it was Rory solo with the top riders sitting on his wheel. He slowly chipped away at the gap and won the overall by just 15 seconds.”
Reflecting on the Tour, Tamayo concluded, “We’re proud of our effort here. Also, it was impressive to watch the Bontrager-Livestrong Development Team ride so well and impress everyone, especially going 1-2 on the final stage today. They are proving a lot and they deserve to be at the Amgen Tour of California.”
Photo © Mitch Clinton / https://ClintonPhoto.com