Who would have thought that the Joe Martin Stage Race would bring some of the best racing this year. Well it did, stage 3 saw the men’s field, shuffle and re-shuffle, explode and come back together, in an extremely dynamic race with non-stop attacking.
“Just real knock’em, sock’em stage. It’s too bad the general public couldn’t witness that because that was US racing at probably one of its best stages this year.” RealCyclist.com DS Gord Fraser said after the stage.
“It was one of the craziest race ever, as well as the Sunset Loop at Redlands. It came down to be a really hard, interesting race.” RealCyclist.com’s Cesar Grajales said about stage 3.
And it continued on the final stage. After Gila, the question was ‘Can Francisco Mancebo be beaten?’ Well, the answer was yes at Joe Martin but Mancebo and his team fought until the end. It wasn’t just BISSELL throwing bombs, Pure Black Racing and Chipotle Development Team were also in the mix going for the stage win and trying for the overall.
Once again however, not all big teams were present at the race and the GC race quickly came down to a two-team duel. The showdown with all the big squads will probably happen at Nature Valley Grand Prix in June where it is rumored that UnitedHealthcare will be present. Hopefully, the strong and exciting racing will continue.
Two amateur teams were in the breaks and chasing down moves at Joe Martin. Rio Grande’s Chad Haga continues to quietly have a good season. After losing the best young rider’s jersey at San Dimas with an ill-timed mechanical, he finished 20th overall at the SRAM Tour of the Gila and 6th overall at Joe Martin after making the decisive break on Sunday. The Hagens-Berman team put in work at the front of the field at Joe Martin, chasing down breaks to protect Chris Parrish‘ top 10 GC standings. In the end, Parrish finished 13th overall.
Small women’s field. With USA Crits Speedweek happening at the same time, the women’s field at Joe Martin was only 38 riders with both events well-suited to power riders.
“It’s such a different race that it has been in the past because obviously the field is so small. With Pan Am, Speedweek and Collegiate Nationals all going on on the same weekend, it really whittles everything down. Probably half the field that would be here is at Speedweek, at least. This is usually a pretty good field before, it’s pretty disappointing and definitely the racing has been different because of that. People are being aggressive but everybody is overanxious, everybody wants to be in the break and the time gaps are so small that nobody wants to let anything go away.” TIBCO’s Meredith Miller said about the small field.
Can the North American’s women field support conflicting multi-day events at the same time? I don’t know the answer to that but it was a shame to see a race that has supported women’s racing for many years impacted by race scheduling conflicts.
Reports and Photo Galleries from 34th edition of the Joe Martin Stage Race
- Success Breeds Success For Colavita
- Figuring Out How To Win For BISSELL
- Photo Gallery Joe Martin Stage 4 Men
- Photo Gallery Joe Martin Stage 4 Women
- Bissell Prevails At Joe Martin
- Kachorek Wins Crit, Holcomb Takes Overall At Joe Martin
- Photo Gallery Joe Martin Stage 3 Men
- Photo Gallery Joe Martin Stage 3 Women
- Thomson Wins Rock’em Sock’em Stage At Joe Martin
- Holcomb Back In The Lead In 1-2 Punch At Joe Martin
- Photo Gallery Joe Martin Stage 2 Men
- Photo Gallery Joe Martin Stage 2 Women
- Borrajo Wins Close Sprint At Joe Martin
- Guarnier Sprints Into The Lead At Joe Martin
- Jacques-Maynes Going For The Win At Joe Martin
- Photo Gallery Joe Martin Stage 1 Women
- Photo Gallery Joe Martin Stage 1 Men
- Mancebo Wins Joe Martin TT
- Holcomb Fastest At Joe Martin TT
- On Tap: Joe Martin Stage Race