5-hour ENERGY® presented by Kenda Racing Team
Tour of Gila - Stage 5
May 7, 2013
The Queen stage of the Tour of Gila covered 100 miles including 5 hard climbs. In previous editions of the race the breakaway would always go on the first category 3 climb. We believed all the riders knew this and everyone wanted to be a part of that breakaway. The first hour of racing was fast covering 45 kms and multiple riders were spit out the back during that first 15 miles. The pace continued to increase as the attacks were relentless; it was a full assault on the current race leader and the Jamis team. Jim Stemper, despite being banged up, was active in trying to get in right move. Max Jenkins also was active covering many moves but in the end it was Taylor Shelden that made the move that put him in a breakaway of 15 riders. Many teams had multiple riders in this breakaway, they put most of them on the front to try and increase the gap as much as possible before the first category 2 climb that went towards the Cliff Dwellings. In the peloton Jamis was in full team time trial mode with all their riders holding the gap at 40 seconds. Up the category 2 climb the pace steadied out until the 5-hour ENERGY team went to the front with Max Jenkins and Francisco Mancebo. The gap was reduced to fifteen seconds when Mancebo went across and the rest of the G.C. contenders had to follow. Over the top the break was absorbed and the lead group now only contained roughly 40 riders. The hard part of the race was still to come.
Coming out of the Cliff Dwellings, on the cat 1 climb, Deignan (UHC) attacked and established a gap ofabout thirty seconds. In the peloton Azevedo, the race leader, and Mancebo set tempo keeping himclose. Over the top of the climb the group was reduced even more down to; Euser (UHC), Cooke (Champ Sys), Gaimon (Vacuums), Mannion (Bontrager), and Grajales (Predator). Azevedo became isolated and had to keep chasing to try and keep his lead. During the final 20 miles different riders tried to escape and even Azevedo attacked but the tenacity of the group kept bringing everyone together including Deignan who was brought back. Then Gaimon attacked with a perfectly timed move. He went away by himself and once his lead reached 40 seconds Mancebo attacked and only Deignan and Cooke could respond to his power. The two riders Mancebo and Deignan shared the chase with Cooke working occasionally. In the back Azevedo was by himself, trying to pull back the leaders. The gap to Gaimon started to shrink little by little but it became evident that there might not be enough road left to bring him back. Deignan was riding to win the race, he needed twenty one seconds, and Mancebo was riding to win the stage. At one kilometer to go Mancebo continued to chase hard and Deignan even harder while Gaimon was still ahead by ten seconds. In the final 400 Gaimon was caught and Cooke launched an attack that Mancebo immediately responded to. Once Mancebo was on Cooke, he immediately came past him to take the win on stage 5 and move up to 3rd overall for the race 9 seconds off Gaimon’s 2nd place time. The final podium put Deignan in first, Gaimon in second, and Mancebo in 3rd.
The rest of the team finished safely, and with Paco’s win and 3rd place overall as well as Max’s 3rd place finish on stage 2, the team recaptured the NRC Team Lead and Paco the individual lead! We now continue the westerly trek to California for the Amgen Tour of California starting next Sunday.
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