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Abbott climbs to sixth victory on Mogollon to take Tour of the Gila stage one

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Mara Abbott won the opening stage of the Tour of the Gila, between Silver City and the mountaintop finish at Mogollon, New Mexico, as she rode the rest of the peloton off her wheel. Riding for the composite Amy D Foundation team, set up in memory of cyclocross rider Amy Dombroski, who was tragically killed while training in Belgium in 2013, Abbott finished 48 seconds ahead of Abby Mickey (UnitedHealthcare), with Jasmin Glaesser (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) a further five seconds back in third.

“It was a good start!” Abbott laughed afterwards. “It’s a climb that I’ve done a lot of times before. This is the seventh time I’ve done the race, and the sixth time I’ve won this stage, so I know the climb very well. There’s a big flat spot in the middle, so it’s a good idea not to attack before then, because you’ll get totally destroyed if you’re out there on your own; it’s really flat, and windy and exposed. It gets steeper as it goes on, so it’s just waiting for a good moment and figuring you can get away.”

Abbott’s first attack was followed by Mickey and Flavia Oliviera (Visit Dallas) but, with little cooperation from the other two, the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling rider elected to sit up and try again.

“I went and they sort of followed me, but they wouldn’t work so I sat up and a larger group came back together,” she explained. “Then I went again, and that time I was able to get away solo.”

Her second attack saw Abbott leave the others behind and, displaying the climbing prowess that has seen her take this stage five times before, managed to open up a 48 second gap by the finish. With four days to go however, including a 26km time trial on stage three, the two-time Giro d’Italia winner is taking nothing for granted.

“You always look at everybody as a threat, and there were some riders I was worried about on this stage,” she explained. “But it’s a hard race, and there’s a long time trial, so it’s about seeing how people stack up across the week. Today I was pretty confident and now I’ll just see if I can cobble the rest of it together.”

Having represented Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling in last Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne – where she was brought down in a nasty crash early on, but managed to chase back to the peloton to play her part later – Abbott instead pulled on the pale blue and orange jersey of the Amy D Foundation; a charity set up in the memory of Amy Dombroski, who was tragically killed in a collision with a truck while training in Belgium in October 2013.

“This is really special, because she was a good friend of mine,” Abbott said. “So to be able to ride and represent her  – we often represent sponsors, but we don’t very often represent people – so to be able to ride for the memory of  friend of mine, and an organisation that gives young girls opportunities in cycling is a huge honour, so that’s really special.”

1. Mara Abbott (Amy D Foundation)

2. Abby Mickey (UnitedHealthcare)
3. Jasmin Glaesser (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)

Podium Photo Credit: Twitter


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