2012 Final Podium - Carmen Small finishes 2nd on GC (black Optum Jersey) behind winner, Kristin Armstrong, and ahead of Alison Powers in 3rd. Photo by Rebecca Reza
Silver City (April 17, 2014) – Silver City's Tour of the Gila powered by SRAM is thrilled to announce the participation of the current US National Time Trial Champion, Carmen Small. She has been racing full-time overseas since last year with UCI Team Specialized-lululemon. Cycling fans here will now have the chance to cheer her on in Silver City as a guest rider with the elite team, DNA Cycling presented by K4.
Small had one of the best years of her career in 2013 winning the time trial at nationals, followed by an impressive third place at worlds. She had signed with Team Specialized-lululemon, making the jump overseas to race in Europe full-time. She credits her time as a domestique in the European peloton with helping her to learn and improve her knowledge of race tactics.
Small will arrive in Silver City after completing several races in Belgium and the Netherlands. "Carmen had first discussed guest rider options with one of our directors, Tina Pic," DNA Cycling p/b K4 General Manager Alex Kim explains. "We believe this is a great fit. Carmen is just getting back from racing in Europe and will be able to keep her racing going."
Gila had not been part of the plan but as often happens, a riders' race program can change. She began looking for a spot in order to race, otherwise risk losing more than a month between her last race in Europe and US Nationals in May. "I started to look at my races and felt like I needed this race before nationals," she explains. "Gila really is a great race! It's well run, very professional, demanding courses at altitude, and has a prestigious turn out in the women's field."
Due to UCI regulations, Small is restricted from guest riding for another UCI team. Thus, she secured a spot with DNA Cycling p/b K4. "Tina Pic and I have a long history, so I contacted her and she put me in touch with Alex." Living in Durango, Colorado, the Gila is the closest NRC race to her home. "I haven't actually raced the Gila that many times," Small adds. "For several years I'd been racing in Europe and had conflicts with the timing, while one year, unfortunately, I didn't make it past Stage 1 due to a crash."
The 5-day stage race takes the pro women over 18,000 feet of climbing and close to 260 miles in and around the Silver City area. "Gila is a race that is just plain hard, no way around it. You can't just sit in and save energy, so it really facilitates exciting races with great battles between the athletes." She adds, "I think if you can podium at Gila you are on a good path to a career with lots of wins."
Only days after the end of the Gila, the Inaugural Women's Tour in Great Britain will launch, unfortunately creating a conflict for several riders and teams. For Small, circumstances proved to be the opposite, " I won't be competing at the Women's Tour. It's better for my preparation leading into nationals that I am not doing any big trips so close to the event."
Small has done well in past additions, (her most recent finishing 2nd overall in 2012), but will have some definite challengers. A few include UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling with Alison Powers and Mara Abbott, and Twenty16 Professional Cycling team with Lex Albrecht and Alison Tetrick. Abbott and Mara are both multiple stage winners, while Abbott has won the GC several times. "I think both Alison and Mara are very professional when it comes to racing. They will be a good duo and do whatever it takes to win, whatever that tactic may be. I have no doubt that UHC will be hard to beat." She remains optimistic, "I have been fortunate in my career that I always had strong teams to race for with great directors. Of course, I would like to do well but most importantly, I want to race hard and take advantage of the fitness I can gain racing."
In the meantime, Silver City's Tour of the Gila is proud to have a national champion race. "Carmen will be wearing her national champ stars and bars kit for the TT," Alex adds. "Our riders are very excited to learn from Carmen's extensive experience and leadership, both on and off the bike."
For more information and the complete schedule of the 2014 Silver City's Tour of the Gila powered by SRAM, please visit www.tourofthegila.com.
Official hashtag - #TouroftheGila.