HomeNewsCyniscas Triumph at the Tour of the Gila Stage Race

Cyniscas Triumph at the Tour of the Gila Stage Race

The Cyniscas rode away with the spoils at the Tour of the Gila, April 24-28. Lauren Stephens won first in the GC (general) and QOM (mountains) classifications, and Cynisca claimed first in the Team classification.

Increasing her GC lead with 2nd place in the final Gila Monster stage, Lauren told Radio Tour reporter Rebecca Reza, “This feels really incredible to do so well in this race. My first time here was in 2012, and it’s a race that makes you decide if you really want to bike race or not. I kept at it, and here I am many, many years later, winning the race.”

A Cynisca stood on the podium every day, and Lauren never finished outside the podium in five days of tough racing. She climbed to victory in the Stage 1 Mogollon Road Race and crushed the competition in the Stage 3 Individual Time Trial. She also claimed 3rd places in Stages 2 & 4, leading out her teammate Chloe Patrick in the criterium, and 2nd place in the Stage 5 Gila Monster. Chloe (U23 USA Criterium Champion) finished the job in the criterium, sprinting to first place wearing her Pearl iZUMi stars & stripes kit. Ashley Frye sat in 3rd place after strong riding all week, only slipping a few spots in the final “Monster” stage, finishing 8th overall.

The team was able to rack up some UCI points as well. The Tour of the Gila is the only women’s UCI-sanctioned stage race in the USA. Following is a deeper dive into each stage from sports director William (Billy) Innes.

Stage 1 Mogollon Road Race (114.4 km): Lauren Stephens crested the climb over the cattleguard near the ghost town of Mogollon to celebrate the first stage victory for Cynisca at the 2024 Tour of the Gila. The team charged into the long day with a plan in their back pocket and executed at 100%. The first part of the race was a long, tedious burn until the right turn that puts the peloton onto the final steep, pitchy 10km climb. About 5km out from that turn, Cara O’Neill and Chloe drove the pack at speed towards the turn, keeping Lauren, Mara Roldan and Ashley out of trouble. Averting a crash as the road started to pitch for the long climb, Mara, Ashley and Lauren pushed the pace, splitting off a few riders and causing small groups to form. Ultimately, it was only Lauren and Nadia Gontova (DNA) at the front with a sizable gap to the others trailing behind. Lauren attacked with about 1 km to go, winning the stage, the QOM jersey and the leader’s jersey by :16. Ashley was just behind in 4th, and Mara rolled in strongly at 15th. Nicole Steinmetz had a strong day as well, but was delayed by the crash and had to catch up. This was Ashley’s first race back after a brief break this spring due to illness.

Stage 2 Ft. Bayard Inner Loop Road Race (119.3 km) : It was a tough race for all with 40 kph head/cross winds. Cara and Chloe set a good tempo into the first QOM, splitting off some riders under the pressure. The front group was eventually whittled down after the second QOM. Mara unfortunately crashed out of the race on the descent (lots of road rash, but recovering well). With Lauren, Nicole and Ashley in the front group, they followed the surges, gained some QOM points and bonus seconds. The race eventually came to a bunch sprint for those in the lead group, where Lauren nabbed 3rd place. This gave her a :46 second lead going into her specialty, the ITT. Ashely maintained 4th place.

Stage 3 Tyronne Individual Time Trial (26 km): Lauren destroyed the ITT, beating 2nd place by :52 seconds and gaining considerable time on the teams’ rivals. Borrowing Mara’s TT rig, Ashley improved her position in the GC to 3rd. Nicole, on a much slower bike with the wrong gearing, put in a great ride as well, and moved up to 19th in the GC. Cara and Chloe conserved energy so they can both help protect Lauren in the final stages. Criterium day is tomorrow with the goal to get Chloe onto the podium and Lauren safely through the day.

Stage 4 Downtown Silver City Criterium (43.5 km): Crit day was pretty epic and a great way to show off some great teamwork. Lauren led out Chloe after telling her that it was her day. The team did well to keep Lauren and Chloe in position throughout the day. In the end, Virginia 2024 went a little too early, and Lauren stepped up a gear with Chloe on her wheel, who sprinted around and nabbed the win! A fabulous result as well as a safe day without incident was a bonus.

Stage 5 The Gila Monster Road Race (106 km): Stage 5 was going to be epic as it is every year. However, the team had a good plan heading into the stage, and it was ours to lose if it went pear shaped. At the start, a few riders were able to slip off the front, but no one was a threat to GC, only the stage. Cara, Nicole and Chloe rolled tempo on the front and started to reel in the break but the gap was still 3’. Protection of two riders and two podium steps is complicated and it went a little awry the further we got up the main climb as the field exploded. The break’s gap was getting closer, but one rider remained off the front so Lauren attacked to chase. It split up the chase group, and Ashley got tailed off and was forced to chase through the valley, expending a lot of energy. By the time Ashley caught up to the chase group, the finale started to play out. Lauren nabbed second on the climb, and Ashley faded a bit to a very respectable 9th place in the stage as her main rivals vaulted up the final 700m climb. 

Billy summed it up with, “This team’s got great momentum heading into Nationals-let’s maintain it!!”

Tour of the Gila Results:

  • 1st Team GC
  • 1st GC – Lauren
  • 1st QOM – Lauren
  • Stage 1 Mogollon Road Race
    • 1st Lauren 
    • 4th Ashley
    • 15th Mara
  • Stage 2 Ft. Bayard Inner Loop Road Race
    • 3rd Lauren 
  • Stage 3 ITT
    • 1st Lauren 
    • 14th Ashley
    • 21st Nicole
  • Stage 4 Criterium
    • 1st Chloe
    • 3rd Lauren
  • Stage 5 The Gila Monster Road Race
    • 3rd Lauren

USA Cynisca Allison Mrugal Races into to Top 10 in Southern Italy at Giro Mediterraneo Rosa

Allison Mrugal continued gaining momentum in European racing this week. She finished 9th in the GC after five stages in the Giro Mediterraneo in southern Italy, April 19-23. The team finished 2nd overall, behind the UAE Development Team. Helping Alli to the top 10 finish were Émilie Fortin, Pauline Allin and Greta Richioud and Chloé Fourmigué-Villacampa, who finished 19th in GC.

Allison will soon head home to the US for the USA Cycling National Championships, where she’ll test her steadily improving form. 

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