It was a strong start to the Joe Martin Stage Race yesterday for Optum p/b KBS – Chad Haga narrowly missed another time trial win today in the uphill prologue, while Brianna Walle showed that her TT skills are equally capable on the steep 2.5 mile course, grabbing fourth place. Both the men and the women will have many opportunities during the race proper this weekend to move up the standings.
Time bonuses at Joe Martin play a key roll in the overall general classification. The team will look for opportunities to gather these bonuses and set up the sprint for Ken Hanson and Joelle Numainville, aiming for a possible stage victory in Friday’s road race.
Read Eric Wohlberg’s recap of the action in the men’s race from Thursdays time trial:
The 2013 Joe Martin Stage Race started with the classic 2.5 mile hill climb prologue, with an average gradient of 5-10%. With excellent weather in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the wind would not play a factor in the rider’s performance, giving a level playing field for all the competitors.
Nate English (Kenda-5 Hour Energy) was the strongest athlete of the day, narrowly taking the win over our own Chad Haga by just 2 seconds. Haga sits 2nd on general classification with a 5 second cushion over Francisco Mancebo (Kenda-5 Hour Energy), who is now sitting 3rd overall. Jesse Anthony, Tom Zirbel, and Eric Young put in strong performances and will be general classification threats in Friday’s 110 mile road race.
Friday, the leadout crew of Ken Hanson, Mike Friedman and Eric Young will be looking to take the stage win in an uphill sprint finish, while Tom Zirbel and Jesse Anthony will be looking for opportunities to help our position on general classification. Tom Soladay and Mike Sherer will be patrolling and applying pressure on our main rivals for the overall. Chad Haga will be keeping an eye on the Kenda-5 Hour Energy duo of English and Mancebo.
Although it is doubtful that the standings will shuffle much during Friday’s road race, it will set the stage for Saturday’s 115-mile second stage which will be our best chance to make our move for the leader’s jersey.