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BMC Development Team's Arnaud Grand (center) earned his first career victory by winning Stage 2 of Silver City's Tour of the Gila. (Photo by Scott Nydam, BMC Development Team.)
BMC Development Team's Arnaud Grand (center) earned his first career victory by winning Stage 2 of Silver City's Tour of the Gila. (Photo by Scott Nydam, BMC Development Team.)

Arnaud Grand Wins Gila Stage 2

3. May 2013

Arnaud Grand of the BMC Development Team was awarded victory at the Inner Loop Road Race Thursday on Stage 2 of Silver City's Tour of the Gila after race officials relegated Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) for not holding his line in the final meters of the two-up sprint.

First Career Win
Grand and Clarke – along with Maxim Jenkins (5 Hour Energy presented by Kenda Pro Cycling) – had been away for nearly 100 kilometers of the 122.6-km race. With the peloton moments from catching them, Grand and Clarke began their sprint. "Three times, I wanted to pass him and three times he (Clarke) came into me," Grand said. "The first time, I yelled, but then he came into me again." Adrien Lévesque, president of the commissaires panel, said the race jury determined Clarke did not maintain a straight line as Grand tried to pass him on the right. Clarke was relegated to second, Jenkins finished third, a second later, and the peloton arrived three seconds after that. Grand said being awarded the victory – rather than actually crossing the finish line first – took none of the luster off his first career win. "This was really nice," he said. "What can I say about it? It's a big moment for me." In addition to winning the stage, the two-time Swiss national Under 23 cyclocross champion (2010-11) also took the lead in the Grant County sprint classification.

Tough Headwind
BMC Development Team General Manager Rik Verbrugghe said key to Grand being able to contest the sprint against the more experience Clarke was conserving energy, especially on the final climb. At one point, the trio led by more than four minutes. "They still had 30 seconds with seven or eight kilometers to go and normally that is more than an enough," Verbrugghe said. "But with the headwind and the peloton going fast, I knew it was going to be close. I told Arnaud to stay on the wheel and try to keep it easy on the climb. I think that made the difference." Grand's previous best result in a road race was second place in 2011 on Stage 4 of the Course de la Solidarité Olympique in Poland. Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home) remains the race leader while T.J. Eisenhart is the BMC Development Team's best-placed rider overall, 2:16 back, in 26th place.