Tour of the Gila: Killips secures women's overall win
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Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation) won the fifth and final stage of the Tour of the Gila women's race on Sunday, sealing the overall victory in the process.
Already wearing the leader's jersey to start the stage, Killips broke clear of the peloton in a small group in the final few minutes of racing on the "Gila Monster" stage, which took riders 110.9 km (65.9 miles) from Silver City to Piños Altos. Killips then surged away to win the stage at the top of the third-category finishing climb.
“We really wanted to get into a break,” said Amy D Foundation team director Julie Kuliecza. “We thought that there was going to be something that would go right after the second sprint point, and we wanted a rider in that break so that when Austin and the other GC riders came up to it, Austin would have someone to help them and protect them, and it worked out perfectly.”
Marcela Prieto (Pato Bike BMC), who won the opening stage and wore the leader's jersey until Killips moved into the lead after the stage 3 time trial, settled for runner-up honors on the final stage.
“At the end, we caught up to a breakaway, and another girl from the same winning team joined us,” said Prieto. “We worked together, and in the end, I gave it my all. It took a lot of strength, but I feel very happy.”
Killips's Amy D Foundation teammate Cassandra Nelson took third on the day.
The stage win extended Killips' overall advantage on the GC, with Prieto's second on the final stage moving her up to second overall at 1:29 back from Killips. Emily Ehrlich (Virginia's Blue Ridge-TWENTY24) fell to third on the overall after finishing fourth on the final stage.
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