Leah Thomas (USA) of Sho-Air TWENTY20 Cycling grabbed her first professional general classification (GC) victory at the 25th addition of The Valley of the Sun Bike Race this weekend in Arizona. A three-day event in which professional and amateur road racing cyclists of different categories race over the same course, the race consisted of a time trial, a road race and a criterium. Thomas won the opening day with a powerful time trial win and was 15th in the road race.(+:10). “I am beyond excited to get my first GC win as a professional. Even though I walked away with the jersey, winning it was a true team effort and shows the strength of our program. I had a solid time trial on Friday to set the tone, and my teammates played an integral part in covering attacks and keeping me safe in the road race and the crit. I look to continue to build upon the foundation we have formed through our early season racing,” Thomas said.
Strong performances also highlighted with Jasmin Glaesser (Canada) finished 4th in the GC, and Sofia Arreola (MEX) grabbing 2nd in the road race.
“Valley of the Sun is always a great start to the domestic racing season. The team worked well together and secured the overall GC victory for Leah. It was our first race with Jasmine Glaesser and she added maturity to our young team. We even had a good contingent of juniors racing in the Women’s 3 race and the team got a chance to relax with them at a barbecue at our host house. We are looking forward to Chico Stage race next weekend,” said TWENTY20 Sports Director, Mari Holden.
Thomas, in her 2nd full year in the program, was recruited prior to the 2015 World Championships where she rode with the team to a strong 5th place in the team time trial. Thomas was 5th in GC at last year’s Amgen Tour of California, and was an integral part of the Team Time Trial victory at that event. She also scored a victory in the Redlands Classic Sunset stage.
Arreola also commented on the race goals for the team: “The main goal was to keep Leah’s leaders jersey and because of the bonus seconds of the QOM and the finish being in the breakaway, it allowed us to control the race more. Of course, I would have loved to take the stage win for the team however I came a close 2nd and in the end, we achieved our goal of taking the General Classification jersey.”
1. Leah Thomas (USA) Sho-Air TWENTY20
2. Bri Walle (USA) Tibco SVB 0:00:36
3. Lauren Stephens (USA) Tibco SVB 0:00:46
4. Jasmin Glaesser (CAN) Sho-Air TWENTY20 0:00:52
5. Emily Newsom (USA) team Elevate 0:01:16