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De Crescenzo wins Tour of the Gila

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Lauren De Cresenzo (Cinch Rise) finished 3rd on the stage Adding 41 seconds on the line plus 6 bonus seconds, over Krista Dobel-Hickok (EF Education Tibco SVB) to win the overall GC by exactly one minute.

Lauren De Crescenzo (Cinch Rise) finished 3rd on the stage adding to her overall lead and securing GC victory (Image credit: SnowyMountain Photography)
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Team EF Education Tibco SVB prior to the start of the Queen Stage of the Tour of the Gila, The Gila Monster.

Team EF Education-Tibco SVB prior to the start of the Queen Stage of the Tour of the Gila, The Gila Monster (Image credit: SnowyMountain Photography)
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The Women's race saw some action early with a few lower ranked GC riders taking a shot for glory on the climb into Pinos Altos.

The race saw some action early with a few lower ranked GC riders taking a shot for glory on the climb (Image credit: SnowyMountain Photography)
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EF Education Tibco SVB patrolled the front early, successfully defending the polka dot jersey warn by Krista Dobel-Hickok.

EF Education-Tibco SVB patrolled the front early, successfully defending the polka dot jersey warn by Krista Doebel-Hickok (Image credit: SnowyMountain Photography)
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Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M) and Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation) were the first two riders into Pinos Altos.

Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M) and Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation) out the front (Image credit: SnowyMountain Photography)
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The last 2km were the longest for riders who dropped behind the caravan.

The final kilometres (Image credit: SnowyMountain Photography)
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Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M) won Stage 5 with Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation) finishing 2nd.

Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M) wins Stage 5 with Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation) finishing second (Image credit: SnowyMountain Photography)
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Two of the classification jerseys, Maddy Ward (Instafund LaPrima in Green) and Anet Barrera Esparza (DNA Pro Cycling Team) in White ended up in a chase group with Emily Langley (EF Education Tibco SVB) and Diana Penuela Martinez (DNA Pro Cycling Team). Penuela finished 6th. Langley 7th, Ward 8th, and Barrera Esparza in 9th.

Two of the classification jerseys, Maddy Ward (Instafund LaPrima in Green) and Anet Barrera Esparza (DNA Pro Cycling Team) in White ended up in a chase group with Emily Langley (EF Education Tibco SVB) and Diana Penuela Martinez (DNA Pro Cycling Team) (Image credit: SnowyMountain Photography)
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Stage 5 Podium: Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M) 1st, Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation) 2nd, Lauren De Cresenzo (Cinch Rise) 3rd.

Stage 5 Podium: Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M) first, Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation) second, Lauren De Crescenzo (Cinch Rise) third (Image credit: SnowyMountain Photography)
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Lauren De Cresenzo (Cinch Rise) shows off the locally crafted pottery bowls that serve as winners trophies for the Tour of the Gila.

Lauren De Crescenzo (Cinch Rise) with the locally crafted pottery bowl that serve as winners trophies for the Tour of the Gila (Image credit: SnowyMountain Photography)
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Classification Podium: Anet Barrera Esparza (DNA Pro Cycling Team) in White, Krista Dobel-Hickok (EF Education First Tibco SVB) in Polka Dots, Lauren De Cresenzo (Cinch Rise) in Red leader's jersey, and Maddy Ward (Instafund LaPrima) in Green

Classification Podium: Anet Barrera Esparza (DNA Pro Cycling) in White, Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education First Tibco SVB) in Polka Dots, Lauren De Crescenzo (Cinch Rise) in Red leader's jersey, and Maddy Ward (Instafund LaPrima) in Green (Image credit: SnowyMountain Photography)

Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M) was victorious on the challenging stage 5 finale of the Tour of the Gila, proving strongest on the final climb of the Gila Monster stage as she came over the line ahead of Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation).

It was Lauren De Crescenzo (Cinch Rise) who took third place and sealed the overall victory at the Tour of the Gila, stretching out her overall lead to Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB), who came over the line fourth in Piños Altos.

"It means so much to me winning the Gila. Six years ago I couldn’t imagine this. I was at the rehab center learning how to walk and talk again," said De Crescenzo who was seriously injured in a crash during a race in 2016. "If someone would tell me, ‘don’t worry Lauren because in 6 years you’re going to win the Gila’ I would have been like, ‘You’re crazy, I’m not a climber!”

Tour of the Gila concluded on Sunday with stage 5's decisive 105km race from Silver City to the summit of the 11km climb to Piños Altos. The route included 5,610 feet of climbing with two bonus sprints and three categorised mountains.

Rylee McMullen (InstaFund) won the first intermediate sprint as while the field was intact in the first 17km, separations opened up as the roads turned upward.

Doebel-Hickok secured the points at the top of the first ascent, at the 26km mark, but while it appeared a breakaway might emerged, a reduced field of about 30 riders were back together along the valley roads toward Lake Roberts.

Helena Gilbert-Snyder (Live Play Real Estate) cleared the field with a 25-second gap along the valley roads. She pushed her lead out to three minutes, but she was 35 minutes down on the overall classification and no threat to the GC contenders.

EF Education-TIBCO-SVB and Cinch Cycling led the pace from the reduced field behind.

In her solo breakaway, Gilbert-Snyder met the second intermediate sprint at Camp Thunderbird, 57km into the race, and took the full points, while behind overall race leader De Crescenzo and runner-up Doebel-Hickok took the second and third.

Doebel-Hickok's EF Education-TIBCO-SVB team set the pace at the front of the reduced field and brought Gilbert-Snyder's gap down to 1:30 heading into the second mountain ascent that located atop Wild Horse Mesa at the 86km mark.

A group of four emerged on the climb that included Marcela Prieto (PratoBike), Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M), Doebel-Hickok, and Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation), while race leader De Crescenzo struggled to hang on and was distanced by about eight seconds.

The turn right toward Piños Altos for the finale ascent to the summit and the finish line and the select group caught Gilbert-Snyder. Then Marcolini decided it was time to make a move. 

"I went and then Austin [Killips] came across to me," said the stage winner. "We decided to just drill it and see what happens."

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