Once again, Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com) clocked the fastest time at a time trial, this time it was the opening stage of the Joe Martin Stage Race. His time was 8 minute flat on the 2.5-mile (4 km) uphill course in Devil’s Den State Park, in Northwest Arkansas. A beautiful lush park with an undulating course and a tailwind was the challenge for the riders today.
And once again, the BISSELL team stacked the top 10 with 5 riders led Ben Jacques-Maynes in second place at 3 seconds down and Jeremy Vennell, third, at 5 seconds.
Finishing 13th at 26 seconds down puts Josh Berry (RealCyclist.com) into the best young rider’s jersey while BISSELL leads the team classification after the first stage.
We called it, a battle between RealCyclist and BISSELL for the GC lead, each with multiple cards to play for their tactics and the favorite is of course, NRC leader, Redlands winner and Gila winner Mancebo. The Pure Black Racing team could be the joker in the whole thing with Roman Van Uden sitting in 5th at 14 seconds down if he can take advantage of the duel to run away with it.
Three more stages with time bonuses of a maximum of a 10 seconds the finish line each.
Tomorrow is the 110 miles (177 km) road stage with 5,300 feet of climbing including a 9.2 mile section with an average grade of 2.7% and the finishing straight has a 6% uphill grade over the last 350 meters. At stake on Friday will also be the points jersey with one intermediate sprint and points at the finish line. With so many sprinters hankering to get a bunch sprint, it will be difficult to get a break to stick but it did happen last year when Bernie Sulzberger (V Australia) took the win out of a group of 20 riders.
Ben Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling). “It was a little bit more of a tailwind up the climb [than last year]. I actually totally changed around my setup, I opted to run the road bike with climbing wheels, less wind to fight on the hill. I figured that might be faster and actually it wasn’t (laughs), one second slower than last year.”
Was that because of the setup? “My time trial made up of that amount more time at the beginning last year, the first minute and a half you can get up to speed and leave it there and it’s free time, a free ten seconds or so. Looking on Paul’s raceshape.com to compare all the finite details, it’s pretty cool to watch and see what happens.”
Roman Van Uden (Pure Black Racing). “Today was a pretty hard race. We’ve had a tough time prologuing so far in the US so it was a good time to have a good head out with a few fresh riders. I was able to have a good result, a top 5, I have a new max heart rate of 171 which is about 4 beats higher than I’ve had before, I have to claim that to definitely riding at altitude. These races have typically been bunch finishes so it should set us up for high GC place by the end of the week.”
Top 10 Results
1. Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.com Pro Cycling) 08:00.07
2. Ben Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 0:03.06
3. Jeremy Vennell (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 0:05.12
4. Paul Mach (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 0:06.74
5. Roman Van Uden (Pure Black Racing) 0:14.73
6. Cesar Grajales (Realcyclist.com Pro Cycling) 0:19.05
7. Frank K Pipp (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 0:19.24
8. Christophe Parrish (Hagens Berman Cycling) 0:22.23
9. Darren Rolfe (V Australia) 0:22.24
10. Ian Burnett (Realcyclist.com Pro Cycling) 0:22.65