On beautiful sunny southwestern Saturday with temperatures in the 70’s, 7500 cyclists from all 50 states, plus a dozen cycling superstars, lined up to start the world famous El Tour de Tucson gran fondo race in Tucson, Arizona USA.
Participating in the 39th edition of the end-of-season classic were Giro d’Italia champion Damiano Cunego, Olympians Mari Holden, Bobby Julich and George Hincapie, national champions Rahsaan Bahati and Kristin Armstrong, and Tour de France riders Bob Roll, Christian Vande Velde and Jens Voigt.
Halfway through the 102 mile gran fondo race a trio including Damiano Cunego, Sean Christian and the tandem of Paul Thomas & Rob Alvarez (2017, 2019 champion) had a massive six minute lead on a peloton of 300 elite riders.
At the finish 20 year-old Sean Christian (Aevolo) out sprinted veteran grand tour champion Cunego, 41, for the overall win in 3:49:05. Irishman Cormac McGeogh (3:53:08) led the peloton in to finish third, with Thomas and Alvarez winning the tandem category in 3:49:08.
“The guy I sprinted against for the win won the Giro de Italia which is one of the biggest bike races in the world, so it was super cool to race against someone I aspire to be one day,” Christian told News4 KVOA after his historic win.
The women’s race came down to 3-up sprint with 23 year-old collegiate racer Anna Hicks (CalPoly San Luis Obispo) pipping Jacqueline Larouche to earn her first El Tour de Tucson title, both credited with a time of 3:54:15. Cecily Decker (3:54:17) was right behind, earning the final podium spot.
Complete El Tour de Tucson results HERE.
Photos/Media: Twitter: El Tour de Tucson