The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Rory Sutherland (AUS) won the opening stage of the 26th Annual SRAM Tour of the Gila, giving the Team its third win of the season and 28th top 10 finish to date. Sutherland, who also finished 2nd in Stage 3 of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali earlier this year in Italy, won the stage in 3:45:43, 12 seconds ahead of second place finisher Joe Dombrowski (USA) of Team Bontrager-Livestrong and 14 seconds of Chad Beyer (USA) of Competitive Cyclist Racing Team. Sutherland’s Teammate, Marc de Maar (CUR), took 6th in the opening stage of the SRAM Tour of the Gila, which is now enjoying its first year as a UCI 2.2 stage race.
Following the stage win, Sutherland said, “This was a good win for us and we are very happy about the Team’s performance. As a Team, we went into today not knowing exactly where we were having just come back from Europe. This Team has battled sickness, bad weather, injuries and a lot of hard racing in Europe, so getting the win today was nice, especially after all of the ups and downs we’ve experienced. We’ve done a lot of events together throughout the past few months and as a Team we have endured a lot. I believe that has brought us closer together.”
“This is a great race sponsored by SRAM and we’re excited to be here,” Sutherland continued. “The field is strong and Mancebo’s team (Francisco Mancebo (SPA) of Competitive Cyclist Racing Team) did a good job and raced well to land three in the top 10 today.”
Sutherland concluded, “Marc de Maar and the UnitedHealthcare boys really did a great job, keeping us in a good position throughout the day. The confidence was there and the boys put us in the right place at the bottom of the climb. The legs came around for me and I felt great so I went with my own tempo up the climb, which was good enough to get the victory for Team UnitedHealthcare. It’s good to see all of the Team’s hard work coming together here in New Mexico, especially leading into the upcoming Amgen Tour of California.”
The grueling five-day stage race continues tomorrow with Stage 2, a 128.7km trek from Silver City, NM to Fort Bayard, NM.
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Roster for the 26th Annual SRAM Tour of the Gila:
Rory Sutherland (AUS)
Marc de Maar (CUR)
Jeff Louder (USA)
Jason McCartney (USA)
Chris Jones (USA)
Jonny Clarke (AUS)
Ben Day (AUS)
Davide Frattini (ITA)