Emma White and Eric Young showed incredible speed to take victories in the tough, stage four Downtown Silver City Criterium at the Tour of the Gila. Out of the final corner, White out kicked Lauren Stephens (Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) and Elizabeth Williams (Hagens Berman Supermint) to claim a stunning win. In the men’s race, Eric Young continued the team’s win streak by powering to the line ahead of Travis McCabe (UnitedHealthcare) and Alfredo Rodriguez (Elevate-KHS), marking four straight stage wins for the men. The win moves Young into the green jersey of the leader in the points competition, while Evan Huffman maintained his overall lead.
“It’s a great feeling turning all the team’s hard work into a win,” said White. “With our bad luck yesterday, we had our sights set high today, and it feels good to get the team a win. We are down to four riders when other teams have six, so we had to be smart about the way we raced today. Tomorrow is the big climbing stage, and today’s win gives us more confidence to go out and fight for it!”
White’s win was a big morale boost for the team who yesterday lost Sara Bergen due to a crash. Bergen fell towards the end of the time trial and suffered a broken collarbone. Even though Bergen was not on the course, her positive attitude and spirit of teamwork were on display with several messages of support for her teammates posted on social media.
“Down in numbers and backs against the wall, everyone stepped up and worked for the win,” said Team Director Zach Bell. “Today the team and Emma were excellent. It was great to see the team bounce back after losing Sara yesterday. Their ability to fight back is one of the great things about this squad. Today they stuck to the plan, and it came together. The team covered everything despite being two riders down, and in the finale, Emma executed the perfect finish.”
In the men’s race, the team stayed focused on defending the red jersey of Evan Huffman and rode at or near the front of the race for most of the laps in downtown Silver City. With the pace high throughout, no breakaway was able to stay clear, and with five laps to go, it was evident the stage would be decided in a sprint finale. In the closing laps, Adam de Vos, Danny Pate, and Colin Joyce made sure Young was positioned for the final sprint. Young charged out of the last corner, crossing the line to give the Rally men their fourth victory salute in New Mexico. The win was Young’s second Tour of the Gila stage victory of 2017, and his fifth in total.
“I was able to sit in today and save my legs for a sprint,” said Young. “We wouldn’t have minded if a small breakaway had gotten away and taken the win, but criterium racing is always chaotic, and even though a lot of guys tried, nothing stuck. I had an excellent position being second through the final corner and had a good sprint. I’m proud of how each guy is racing this week, how we’ve pulled together as a team and are racing as one unified group. I believe we can cap it off with the general classification victory tomorrow.”