SRAM Tour of the Gila gets rolling with World-class field

We didn’t ask them all to wear black shirts – SRAM hosted a Press Conference emceed by race announcer Dave Towle with 11 racers (Andrew Talansky (Cal Giant), Ben Day (Fly V Australia), Phil Zajicek (Fly V Australia), Rory Sutherland (United Healthcare), Levi Leipheimer (Mellow Johnny’s), Taylor Phinney (Trek-LIVESTRONG) Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co 2012), Meredith Miller (TIBCO), Carmen Small (Colavita-Cooking Light), Katheryn Mattis (Webcor), and Alison Powers (Vera Bradley Foundation) for 25 media, a great way to kick of the event – ironically all SRAM riders and teams by the way…

Tour of New Zealand winner Shelley Evans (peanut Butter & Co 2012) at SRAM Tour of the Gila Press conference
Tour of New Zealand winner Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co 2012) at SRAM Tour of the Gila Press conference

The SRAM Tour of the Gila starts today and with an all-star field, will be perhaps the most hotly contested race on the calendar and an incredible lead-up to the bigger races like the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. The press conference (see pic) Tuesday night hosted many of the incredibly talented pros who will be racing over the next five days in the hills of New Mexico, with comments to the fact that this is undeniably the most talented field ever to take the start for both the Men and the Women.

Marking a return to the race he and his Mellow Johnny’s team won last year, Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer, along with Jason McCartney, will take the start in New Mexico’s Silver City on wednesday, which will be the 24th edition of the race out of Silver City.

SRAM NRS on the scene
SRAM’s NRS team will have 17 techs, five cars, one moto, countless spare partsm and 50 sets of wheels…let’s roll.

The race for the Men will cover five days, 339 miles, 25,231 feet of climbing.

“Not only do the state and the local fans embrace this race, but the terrain, competition, and timing is perfect. We are looking forward to taking the start in Silver City, it’s a great event,” Lance Armstrong, Team Mellow Johnny’s. “It is also a great opportunity to ride with our U23 squad and check in on their development,” added Armstrong. “It is also a great opportunity to ride with our U23 squad and check in on their development.”

Levi Leipheimer and Taylor Phinney answer questions
Levi and Taylor Phinney (Trek-LIVESTRONG)

2009 Gila final stage winner Phil Zajicek talks about a hopeful repeat and podium spot
2009 final stage winner Phil Zajicek (Fly V Australia) commented that winning ahead of Levi and Lance last year was the highlight of his career to date – Levi added that Phil rode great and took perfect advantage of a the opportunity

Co-race Director Jack Brennan added, “This is really cool, could not be happier about the direction of our race, the fact that Levi and Lance are coming back, and that the fields are stacked with North America’s best riders. This will be a showcase of talent.”

Men’s teams include SRAM-equipped United Healthcare – Maxxis, Jelly Belly, Trek-LIVESTRONG, (NRC Champions) Jamis Sutter Home – ColaVita, and (Redlands winners) Fly V Australia.

Meredith Miller (TIBCO) and Catherine Cheatley (Colavita) chat pre race
National Champion Meredith Miller (TIBCO) and Catherine Cheatley (Colavita) chat pre race

Team vera Bradley\'s Alison Powers signs in
Team Vera Bradley’s Alison Powers signs in

Women’s teams include TIBCO, Peanut Butter & Co. – 2012, Colavita/baci – Cooking Light, and Team Vera Bradley Foundation. The Women’s race is now part of the Women’s Prestige series.

Uniclimber Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co 2012) is in the zone
They call her the “Uniclimber,” Mara Abbott is going be explosive on the climbs

Sadly, Mara abbot tried to mount her own computer...the SRAM NRS guys fixed it.
Sadly, Mara abbot tried to mount her own computer…the SRAM NRS guys fixed it – that’s weak Mara…

Jerseys for the 2010 event include the green Sprinter’s Jersey, sponsored by the State of New Mexico, a white U25 jersey, sponsored by Champion System, and the red overall leader’s jersey, sponsored by SRAM. SRAM is in its second year as title sponsor. With the race struggling to find sponsorship in 2009, SRAM stepped in as title sponsor and invited many of their key athletes and teams, including Team Mellow Johnny’s.

Jose Alcala always makes it fun
Jose brings the smiles for the miles

SRAM\'s Neutral Race honch Chad Contreras makes it all work
Chad Contreras makes sure everyone has what they need before the men’s race gets underway

The athletes had some fun at the SRAM Tour of the Gila press conference

This entry was posted in Alex Wassmann, Ben Day, FlyV Australia, Grassroots, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Zellmann, Neutral Race Support, Paul Damato, Radio Shack, Road, Shelley Olds, SRAM Life, SRAM Tour of the Gila, Team RadioShack, Team TIBCO, Trek Livestrong U-23. Bookmark the permalink.