"I'm very happy that we executed our tactics to the best of our ability. With a leader as strong as Paco, you don't have to be absolutely precise or perfect," said directeur sportif Gord Fraser. "He is a phenomenal athlete and role model for our young riders at RealCyclist.com. Every race with him gives the Team responsibility and purpose."
The SRAM Tour of the Gila commenced April 27 in Silver City, N.M. with the 94-mile Mogollon Road Race. Mancebo excelled on the final 6.7-mile Category 1 climb to win the opening stage. Teammate Cesar Grajales was just a minute back to finish 11th. The following two days, Mancebo maintained his leader's jersey taking third place in both the Fort Bayard Inner Loop Road Race and the Dan Potts memorial Tyrone Time Trial. In the 80-mile road race, RealCyclist.com's Cole House finished fifth in the bunch sprint.
After a sixth-place finish in the Downtown Silver City Criterium, Mancebo was back on top of the podium in the fifth and final stage - the daunting 105.7-mile Gila Monster Road Race. This stage featured more than 9,000 feet of climbing and five King of the Mountain climbs. Mancebo launched a solo attack on the final nine miles and won the stage by 1 minute, 12 seconds over Lachlin Morton (Chipotle Development Team). Immediately following his hard-fought finish in the stage, Mancebo simply stated, "buen dia," (good day) for his winning result and Team's efforts.
Veteran climber Cesar Grajales finished 22nd on G.C. and 20-year-old Josh Berry was 29th.
"I'm really happy to see more progression from younger riders - Cole [House], Ian [Burnett], Josh [Berry]. Our veteran riders Cesar [Grajales] and Thomas [Rabou] give us options and wise, tactical decision-making that must be done in the peloton, and not from the team car," said Fraser.
The Tour of the Gila is the third of 29 domestic road cycling events on USA Cycling's highly-touted National Racing Calendar. RealCyclist.com holds a commanding 230-point lead in the 2011 USA Cycling NRC Men's Team Standings over Bissell Pro Cycling Team. Trek Livestrong is in third place, trailing Bissell by 11 points. In the 2011 USA Cycling NRC Men's Individual Standings, Mancebo has increased his lead to 317 points over Chris Baldwin (Bissell Pro Cycling). Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling) follows in third place.
RealCyclist.com will field a full squad at the next NRC event, the Joe Martin Stage Race presented by Nature Valley. Entering its 34th season, this four-day stage race based in Fayetteville, Ark. will take place May 5-8. The Team will consist of the same riders who were in New Mexico - Berry, Burnett, Grajales, House, Hyde, Mancebo, Nankervis and Rabou.
USA CRITS Speed Week continues this week with events in South Carolina (Beaufort May 3, Walterboro May 4 and Spartanburg May 5), North Carolina (Charlotte May 7) and Georgia (Sandy Springs May 8). RealCyclist.com has five riders in these criterium races, including past USA CRITS Championships Series champions Yosvany Falcon (2008) and Frank Travieso (2007).
Following both of these NRC events, the RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Team will enjoy its first mini break of the 2011 racing season and resume racing at the Liberty Classic in Philadelphia, Penn. June 5 (NRC) and Tour de Beauce in Quebec, Canada from June 14-19 (UCI).
For more information, please visit RealCyclist.com/proteam.
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