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Austin Killips, Alex Hoehn, win Tour of the Gila

Gila Monster stage proves to be decisive

Womens Tour of the Gila Photo by: Tour of the Gila

Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation) won the women’s Tour of the Gila, and Alex Hoehn took the men’s race on Sunday in New Mexico.

Killips took a dominant win, wearing the leader’s jersey heading into the queen stage. The 27-year-old rider, who transitioned in 2019, attacked a small break in the 110-km stage from Silver City to Piños Altos. From there, Killips would stay clear on the third-category climb and secure the overall. According to the organizers, Killips is the first openly trans woman athlete to ever win Gila.

“We really wanted to get into a break,” Amy D Foundation team director Julie Kuliecza said after the race. “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.”

This year, and for the first time in its history, the winners of the women’s race also received equal pay as the men.

“Donated funds made possible the move toward equality and a total prize purse of $35,350—the same as UCI Men,” Jack Brennan, Tour of the Gila race director said. “We’ve been wanting to make this happen—and go above and beyond the UCI requirement—and now we’re finally able to do it. It’s been a Tour of the Gila goal from the race’s beginning.”

In the men’s race, Above & Beyond Cancer Cycling p/b Bike World rider Alex Hoehn snagged the victory. Hoehn sat third going into the fifth and final stage. He broke clear with former Tour de France rider Oscar Sevilla, who at 46, still has some climbing legs. The Spanish rider won the stage, with Hoehn finishing second. That would secure his overall win, with Sevilla finishing only two seconds behind.

“I think we gave a show today, and all the people who followed the race were very entertained and excited,” Sevilla said. “In the end, I came with Alex, a great young, strong rider, and I fought until the end, but I could only win the stage, not the overall race. But I am very happy, I think the feeling is very good. Winning is a lot of happiness for me, and second place in the general classification is also very good. So we are very happy, the whole Medellín team, very grateful to the Tour of Gila, and we will come back next year.”

The top Canadian woman was Nadia Gontova, who finished fifth overall, 4:38 behind Killips. As well as the overall, Killips also won the queen of the mountains jersey.

Top Canuck in the men’s race was Toronto Hustle’s Carson Miles, who took 26th overall.