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Race Report Stage 1 Tour of the Gila by Steve Bauer

 

Planet Energy Race Report by Steve Bauer

Tour of Gila Stage 1
Silver City to Mogollon, 151.5km, mountain top finish in 3:36:02

Planet Energy Pro Cycling Team began the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico with reserved ambitions.¬† The 6 men team of Francois Parisien, Ryan Roth, Andrew Randell, Bruno Langlois, Maxime Vives and Keven Lacombe was fit and well prepared however the upcoming 5 days of racing would boast the toughest competition in North America since the Tour of California in February.¬† Indeed, the champion of this year Tour of California Levi Leipheimer was on the start line today with team mates Chris Horner and the man himself Lance Armstrong of Mellow Johnny’s.¬†¬† Our team tactics were simple: Be present in the important breaks and preserve Francois Parisien as best as possible for the tough mountain top finish.

The race rolled out of Silver City at 9:05 am sharp and it did not take long for the peloton to begin attacking.¬† The race never let up until a strong move of 12 riders went clear. Our team missed the important break and Andrew Randell ensured our team gets to the front to chase it down.¬† Keven Lacombe and Bruno Langlois were on the counter attack several times hunting for the next “good move”.¬† Over the next 20km, through some tough rolling hills the peloton stayed glued together. At approximately 70 km to go, 15 men went clear and once again our Team Planet Energy missed the important move.¬† Perhaps we were trying to hard earlier?¬† Mellow Johnny’s Armstrong, Leipheimer and Horner also missed!¬† Our Planet Energy team began chasing immediately but without help from any other team we decided to take a risk and sit up.¬† After the break reached 3 minutes, Lance Armstrong began to ride in front with Chris Horner and our decision was correct.¬† We decided to help Mellow Johnny’s since we needed to bring back the race to have any chance on GC. Otherwise it may have been over.¬† We rode Vives, Randell, Roth, Lacombe, Langlois with Armstrong and Horner. ¬†Parisien and Leipheimer sat on. ¬†After 40km of chasing over tough climbing terrain the gap was reduced to 1 min at the base of the final10 km climb.¬† The race to the summit was launched with Lacombe giving Parisien excellent position to do the final battle.¬† ¬†The peloton was splitting into multiple groups as the race ascended from the valley.

After the finish Johan Bruyneel approached me and thanked our team for the help in the chase.¬† He said “without you guys it would have been over for us” (having only 2 riders Armstrong and Horner to chase for Leipheimer.¬† I said “We missed the important move so we needed to stay in the game as well.

Aside, It is very interesting to read the Reports of the following journalists:
Steve Frothingham of Velo News:
“Mellow Johnny’s team and a few of the other teams that were not in the break began to narrow the gap”.
And Kirsten Robbins of Cycling News:
“Seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and Chris Horner did the work of eight-men, bringing star-climber Levi Leipheimer into the opening stage victory”

Our team Planet Energy did most of the work with Lance Armstrong and Chris Horner to narrow the gap.  End of story.   You can quote me on that!

Result
1stLeipheimer
2ndPeter Stetina
3rdChris Baldin

8th Lance Armstrong

14thFrançois Parisien
139thBruno Langlois
140thKeven Lacombe
147thRyan Roth
148th Andrew Randell
152ndMaxime Vives

Note: Planet Energy is still 4th in UCI ranking Tour of America as per April
  • Brad Patterson

    Glad to hear our Canadian boys helped out, our American cousins.

    Great job !!!

  • mike

    None of Mellow Johnny’s riders were represented in the lead group as it gained a maximum of three minutes over the peloton. Horner was responsible for the brunt of the work to reduce the time down to a mere 16 second at the base of the climb. He received help from Canadian-based Planet Energy, which didn’t have a rider in the breakaway.

    Cyclingnews.com

    Great Job!

  • Mark Tremblay

    Thanks for your report on the race. Without such reports , we check the race results and can not figure out what happened to our favorite riders.
    Congratulations to all the team and looking forward to see your team in a future race in Quebec.

  • Seb

    Thanks for the report, which gives interesting details to the big picture.
    Congrats to your Team and good luck!

  • http://www.cyclesportmanagement.com Steve Bauer

    Cyclingnews report leads in exaggerating the work of Lance and Chris being equal to eight-men when Planet Energy supported their chase of 2 men with 5 of Planet Energy’s men for a minimum of 50km. YES Lance and Chris are capable off the work of an eight-men team in Gila, but that was not the reality. For clarification ask Johan Bruyneel – SB

  • Monet Beard

    Steve,
    I’m so glad to hear that you and your team were in Silver City for the Tour of the Gila! It’s great to read news from someone who isn’t biased toward top riders and influenced by anything other than the “love of the sport”. Thank you for the honest updates. I look forward to reading more.
    I really wish I could have been there to see you all race. Silver City is where I grew up so I can imagine how tough those mountains climbs can be. I hope you guys enjoyed the challenges and the beauty of New Mexico. I’m hoping it will be an annual race for all who participated!
    Good luck to you and your team in upcoming races. Thanks again to you and your Steve Bauer tours crew for great memories!

  • http://www.cyclesportmanagement.com Steve Bauer

    Monet Great to hear from you. Hope to see you on the road again.