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Tour of the Gila: De Crescenzo crushes the competition on stage 2

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Classification jerseys: Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education Tibco SVB) in Polka dot QOM jersey, Lauren De Crescenzo's (Cinch Rise) in the Red leader's jersey and the Green Sprinter's jersey, and Anet Barrera Esparza (DNA Pro Cycling Team).

Classification jerseys: Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education Tibco SVB) in Polka dot QOM jersey, Lauren De Crescenzo's (Cinch Rise) in the Red leader's jersey and the Green Sprinter's jersey, and Anet Barrera Esparza (DNA Pro Cycling Team). (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Classification jerseys: Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education Tibco SVB) in Polka dot QOM jersey, Lauren De Crescenzo's (Cinch Rise) in the Red leader's jersey and the Green Sprinter's jersey, and Anet Barrera Esparza (DNA Pro Cycling Team).

Classification jerseys: Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education Tibco SVB) in Polka dot QOM jersey, Lauren De Crescenzo's (Cinch Rise) in the Red leader's jersey and the Green Sprinter's jersey, and Anet Barrera Esparza (DNA Pro Cycling Team). (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Stage podium, Lauren De Crescenzo's (Cinch Rise) 1st, Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education Tibco SVB) 2nd, Maddy Ward (Instafund LaPrima) 3rd.

Stage podium, Lauren De Crescenzo's (Cinch Rise) 1st, Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education Tibco SVB) 2nd, Maddy Ward (Instafund LaPrima) 3rd. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Classification jersey call-ups (l to r): Kyleigh Spearing (Cinch Rise) in white, Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M) in the QOM jersey, Krista Dobel-Hickok (EF Education Tibco SVB) in the red leaders jersey, and Maggie Coles-Lyster in the Green sprint jersey.

Classification jersey call-ups (l to r): Kyleigh Spearing (Cinch Rise) in white, Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M) in the QOM jersey, Krista Dobel-Hickok (EF Education Tibco SVB) in the red leaders jersey, and Maggie Coles-Lyster in the Green sprint jersey. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Fighting headwinds alone is kind of Lauren De Crescenzo's thing. After a disappointing mechanical on the finishing climb of Stage 1, the Cinch Rise rider set out early on her own, putting 5 minutes and 23 seconds between her and second place.

Fighting headwinds alone is kind of Lauren De Crescenzo's thing. After a disappointing mechanical on the finishing climb of Stage 1, the Cinch Rise rider set out early on her own, putting 5 minutes and 23 seconds between her and second place. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation) lead the chase group inside 1 mile to go.

Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation) lead the chase group inside 1 mile to go. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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The women's field was lined up and ready to race...11 minutes and 8 seconds before the actual start.

The women's field was lined up and ready to race...11 minutes and 8 seconds before the actual start. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education Tibco SVB) attacked on the road leading into the fort and held her gap through the finish for 2nd place on the officially 5:23 behind De Crescenzo.

Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education Tibco SVB) attacked on the road leading into the fort and held her gap through the finish for 2nd place on the officially 5:23 behind De Crescenzo. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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The women's field remained neutral as they rolled out of Fort Bayard.

The women's field remained neutral as they rolled out of Fort Bayard. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Lauren De Crescenzo's (Cinch Rise) celebrates at the finish.

Lauren De Crescenzo's (Cinch Rise) celebrates at the finish. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M) started stage 2 wearing the polka dot climbers jersey on behalf of race and QOM leader Krista Dobel-Hickok (EF Education Tibco SVB)

Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M) started stage 2 wearing the polka dot climbers jersey on behalf of race and QOM leader Krista Dobel-Hickok (EF Education Tibco SVB) (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Tom Danielson (left) chats with Kyleigh Spearing (right) (Cinch Rise) who was in he best young rider jersey at the start of Stage 2.

Tom Danielson (left) chats with Kyleigh Spearing (right) (Cinch Rise) who was in he best young rider jersey at the start of Stage 2. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)

Lauren de Crescenzo (Cinch Rise) blew apart the women's Tour of the Gila on stage 2 from Fort Bayard, attacking in the first 12 kilometres of the 120.7km stage and storming away to win by minutes on a wildly-reduced chasing group and gaining enough time to take the race lead from stage 1 winner Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB).

The peloton stayed together as far as the first intermediate sprint, where Maggie Coles-Lyster (DNA Pro Cycling), Emma Langley (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB) and Daphne Karagianis (DNA Pro Cycling) took the top points on the road out of Fort Bayard.

Then, De Crescenzo made what few thought would be the winning move, launching a counter-attack with more than 100km still to race. Chased by Langley, the Cinch rider opened up 1:30 on the peloton by the first QOM sprint at Pinos Altos.

Behind, the peloton blew apart, allowing De Crescenzo to pile time onto her gap, with Langley and DNA's Anet Berrera chasing her ahead of a reduced bunch of around 10 riders. As De Crescenzo mopped up the QOM's, Berrera and Langley never managed to make contact and were later caught by the chasers.

It seemed that, with Doebel-Hickok enjoying a 2:58 advantage on De Crescenzo overnight, it would be enough to simply to reduce the gap to a more reasonable size. But the Cinch rider, winner of Unbound Gravel 200 and other ultra-endurance races, kept on resisting the chase.

"My strategy was just to gravel it and that’s what I basically did, so it worked," De Crescenzo said later. "I was able to get a gap on the climb and just keep going. The descent was OK, I’ve been doing this for a while. This is my third time racing Gila, but it’s been about 7 years since my last time. I almost prefer being solo off the front, it feels really safe up there. I like the safety factor. It’s good training for Unbound." 

Once the major climb to Pinos Altos was behind them, Doebel-Hickok and teammates Sara Poidevin and Langley were able to make a small dent into the gap, reducing it from 3:30 to 3:10. Also in the group were Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M Cycling), second at 21 seconds, Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation), third at 48 seconds, Diana Peñuela (DNA Pro Cycling) fourth at 1:41.

The climb out of San Lorenzo on the turn back toward Fort Bayard, De Crescenzo faced a brisk headwind and plenty of climbing, usually a massive disadvantage for a solo rider. But the gravel specialist, well acquainted with the pain cave, continued to open up her gap to 4:30 with 20km to go and kept powering until the finish line to secure the race lead.

"So of course we wanted to keep the jersey but we rode as smart and strong as we could so I’m not disappointed and I’m really grateful for the work of my teammates," Doebel-Hickok said after the stage, now 2:32 behind De Crescenzo on GC. "Congrats to Lauren, she rode really strong and well. I’m happy with the team and where we stand."

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.

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