Back in the United States after a European racing stint, Amanda Miller (TIBCO) set the fastest time of 9:59 to claim the leader’s jersey at the Joe Martin Stage Race. Kathryn Donovan (FCS|Rouse) was in second, second down with Maria Luisa Calle Williams (Colombian National Team) in third at three seconds.
The FCS|Rouse team put four riders in the top 10 while Optum Pro Cycling has three led by Carmen Small in fourth, at three seconds down.
Once again, the women’s field is impacted with having two national-level events at the same time. Many racers have chosen to race USA Crits SpeedWeek this weekend leaving a field of only 36 women at the NRC stage race. Last year’s overall winner Megan Guarnier (Tibco) is still racing in Europe, garnering those very important UCI points in this Olympic year.
For the second year in a row, Francisco Mancebo (Competitive Cyclist) clocked the fastest time in the opener to claim the leader’s jersey. His time was 8:13, 13 seconds slower than last year, on the 2.5-mile (4 km) uphill course in Devil’s Den State Park, in Northwest Arkansas. The course starts off with a brief flat section before the road steadily climbs 680 feet to the finish with an average grade of 6.8%, with most of the climb at 10%.
Sebastian Salas (Optum Pro Cycling-KBS) came in second at five seconds with Jeremy Vennell (Bissell), third, at six seconds down. Last year’s overall winner, Frank Pipp (Bissell) came in 20th at 21 seconds down. Coming in 15th, Joseph Schmalz (ELBOWZ Racing), at 18 seconds, picks up the best young rider jersey after stage 1.
As has been proven in the past, the four stages make Joe Martin Stage Race suited well for power sprinters that can keep their own in the time trial or for time trialist with a good finish kick.
Friday’s road race goes straight into the hills, with multiple climbs. Starting from a Wal-Mart parking lot, the men’s field will cover 110 miles (177 km) and 5,300 feet of climbing and the women 64 miles (103 km) over 3,500. There is 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. Time bonus of 10, 6 and 4 seconds at the finish line.
Top 10 Men’s Results (complete results)
1. Francisco Mancebo (Competitive Cyclist Racing Team) 8:13.81
2. Sebastian Salas (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit) +0:05.00
3. Jeremy Vennell (BISSELL Pro Cycling) +0:06.68
4. Cesar Grajales (Competitive Cyclist Racing Team) +0:07.71
5. Morgan Schmitt (Team Exergy) +0:10.05
6. Arles Castro (Colombian National Team) +0:10.57
7. Phil Gaimon (Kenda/5hr Energy p/b Geargrinder) +0:11.24
8. Andres Diaz Corales (Team Exergy) +0:13.22
9. Ben Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) +0:13.35
10. Juan Esteban Arango (Colombian National Team) +0:13.43
Top 10 Women’s Results (complete results)
1. Amanda Miller (TIBCO) 9:59
2. Kathryn Donovan (FCS|Rouse) +0:01.12
3. Maria Luisa (Colombian National Team) +0:02.41
4. Carmen Small (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit) +0:03.49