TUCSON (KVOA) - A 20-year-old Tucson man won the 39th Annual El Tour de Tucson Saturday.
Sean Christian took the stop spot with a 3:49:01 time. He narrowly edged out Damiano Cunego for the win.
"We broke away from the main group about one mile into the race, so it was three of us for 101 miles and when there's only three of you, you get no rest you just have to constantly work the whole time."
Christian rides for the U23 team, Aevolo, and has competed internationally.
More than 7,500 riders from 10 countries and all 50-states competed in Saturday's El Tour. For most riders just finishing was a win. For first time rider, Yogi Romero, he said his strategy was staying on his teammate's wheel. That team member, Gil Ron, said "Our goal was to stay together as a team all the way to the finish."
Tucsonan Chris Potter is one of the one percent of riders to participate in the El Tour more than 11 times. Saturday was his 15th race.
"I was hoping to go sub 4 hours today and that didn't work out. I got popped off the lead group because of one of the crashes and I couldn't get back on," Potter said.
There were three race distances, 32, 63 and 102 miles, with 40% of riders competing in that longer race.
The El Tour has raised more than $100 million for charity during its 39-year run.
Ron is a competitive cyclist. He has competed, and won gold, in the Maccabi Games. He said it's more than just racing. "As a cyclist you have the ability to influence others, get them to ride their bikes. be active."
And one spectator, Tracy Wood, said the race inspired her. "I used to ride when I was a teenager and then I gave it up but it's so exciting I may start again."
The tour also boasted some big names, like George Hincapie, who has competed in the Tour de France. "It's a whole different level when you watch these guys race over in France and in Europe and then you find yourself in Tucson Arizona and you find yourself riding next to them and having a normal conversation," Potter said.
"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 said.
And now he's the one who is inspiring future cyclists.
The 2022 Men's Podium also includes Damiano Cunego of Italy, who took second place and Cormac McGeough of Ireland, third place.
For the 2022 Women's Podium, Anna Hicks of California took first place. Jacqueline Larouche of Michigan took second place and Cecily Decker of Montana took third place.
For more information, visit eltourdetucson.org.