Tour of the Gila: Tyler Stites wins men's stage 4 criterium

Tyler Stites (Project Echelon Racing) won the men's stage 4 criterium held in downtown Silver City on Saturday evening at the Tour of the Gila. Stites won the bunch sprint ahead of Samuel Volkers (MEIYO CCN) with his Project Echelon teammate George Smith finishing third.

“I think we had a good plan today and followed it perfectly and executed that and accomplished it,” Stites said in a post-race press release.

There was no change to the top three positions in the overall classification with Matteo Dal-Cin (Toronto Hustle) leading the race, however, by virtue of capturing time bonuses during the criterium, Stites is now only 34 seconds behind. 

Torbjørn Røed (Yoeleo Test Team) is in third place overall at 1:03 back as the race heads into the finale stage 5, a challenging 162km from Silver City to the summit of the 11km climb to Piños Altos on Sunday.

“Tomorrow I’m sure it’s going to be a little bit less straight forward than today,” Dal-Cin said. “[There will] be a lot more bombs being thrown, but I think that’s all right. Tyler brought back some time today, but tomorrow you can put minutes in, so anything can happen. There’s tons of guys still in the race. It’s definitely not a two-horse race by any means, so it’ll just be a hard day of slugging it out and hopefully the strongest guy comes out on top.”

The men's criterium was 70km (40 laps) largely dominated by Project Echelon in the hunt for time bonuses offered during the evening race. There were three bonus sprints, with time and sprint points offered to the first three riders to cross the line, along with time bonuses and points offered at the finish line.

Stites is not only positioned as the runner-up in the overall classification but is also leading the sprint classification at the Tour of the Gila.

An early breakaway cleared the field that included Cyrus Monk (Meiyo CCN Pro Cycling), who was later joined by Joey Bacala (Landis/Trek) and Jovanni Stefani (Team California/HMS). Monk picked up the majority of the sprint points and time bonuses during the race.

However, the field was back together with just a few laps remaining, in anticipation of a bunch sprint won by Stites, who secured the time bonus and points offered at the finish line.

The Tour of the Gila will concluded on Sunday with the Gila Monster stage that finishes atop Piños Altos. The stage includes 9,131 feet of climbing and the steepest climb tops out at an elevation of 7,493 feet.

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Kirsten Frattini
Women's Editor

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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