veloimages-stage5menstogwinner.jpegParedes wins Gila Monster race Photo by VeloImages for Tour of the Gila 2024

By Rebecca Reza, RadioTour 

Silver City, NM — Team Medellín’s Wilmar Paredes conquered the Gila Monster Road Race presented by Gila Regional Medical Center, cresting the finish for victory over a minute ahead of second place Ian Lopez of Aevolo Cycling and Tyler Stites in third for Project Echelon. On the final stage of Tour of the Gila 2024, the Colombian also secured the King of the Mountains classification and polka-dot jersey.

Stites crossed the line a short time later celebrating his first overall victory at a UCI race, with a 54-second margin ahead of Team Medellín’s Walter Vargas and Paredes in third. “The team was just amazing today,” Stites said. “I didn’t touch the wind a single time until the last 200 meters. We controlled the race from start to finish, which made it easy on me. This win is big for me and the team; it’s the team’s first UCI GC victory which was a big goal for us this season, so we’re very happy.”

The pro men faced 100.6 miles with 9,957 vertical feet of climbing on the final day of racing at the Tour of the Gila. As the peloton saw the flag drop at kilometer zero, many teams tried to establish a break, but the field refused to allow anything to stick. First, Aevolo jumped, then CS Velo attacked the field, they gained a slight advantage before being joined by Team California, finally getting caught once again. 

As the field made the turn entering the Mimbres Valley, Conn McDunphy (Team Skyline), Ulises Castillo (Above & Beyond Cancer), and Fabio Duarte (Team Medellín) escaped to gain a slight advantage. They held up to a 1:25 gap before getting caught rounding Lake Roberts as they began to scale the mountains.

The final stage saw a head-to-head battle in the King of the Mountain classification, between Heiner Parra of Canel’s-Java and Team Medellín’s Paredes. A three-point margin separated the two Colombians at the start, with Paredes in the lead. Parra had won the classification the previous two years and was just shy of leading the points en route to his third. 

Paredes notched the first two KOM sprint points before Parra attacked just shy of the third. Paredes countered with one kilometer to go, catching Parra as the two eyed each other. Paredes launched once again within 500m to crest the mountain first, securing the mountain classification sponsored by Freeport McMoRan. Waiting to greet his team at the finish, disappointment was apparent on his face despite winning the stage.  

 “Heiner [Parra] made the race very difficult,” Paredes said. “My teammates did everything they could, and in the end, I was able to win the mountain points. I am happy except that in the time trial I lost a lot of time losing the GC lead. I had problems with my bike, but we did what we could.”

Project Echelon’s Cade Bickmore secured the green points classification jersey for a second year running, while Jonas Walton of Team EcoFlo Chronos held on to win the Best Young Rider Classification finishing fourth on GC. Team Medellín earned the overall Team Classification, seeing five riders finish within the top ten: Walter Vargas, Wilmar Paredes, Brayan Sánchez, Óscar Sevilla, and Róbigzon Oyola in that order. 

The Gila Monster Road Race wrapped another successful edition of Silver City’s Tour of the Gila, a race that attracts the top talent throughout the Americas and the world each season. In 2024, the race was able to boost fan engagement by providing live video coverage throughout the road race stages, showcasing a week of exciting and explosive racing in southwest New Mexico.  


Running April 24-28, 2024, Tour of the Gila is an iconic American road cycling race that is renowned across the globe for its five challenging stages. As a UCI-sanctioned stage race, Tour of the Gila is the proving ground where pro and elite amateur racers showcase their talent. Also sanctioned by USA Cycling, Tour of the Gila attracts amateur cyclists wanting to experience southwest New Mexico’s notoriously steep and scenic roads while testing their physical limits. Since 1987, Tour of the Gila has highlighted the state’s rich history and landscape, including the region that inspired the creation of the Wilderness Act, its robust farming, ranching and mining heritage, a growing creative community, and mountains that make for a cyclist’s dream playground.

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