The Joe Martin Stage Race, one of the USA’s only surviving UCI stage races, has secured the backing of Walmart for 2022. The UCI 2.2 four-day event will occur from May 19 to 22 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where the Cyclocross World Championships were recently held.
For the 45th anniversary of the event, the men and women will receive equal prize money. According to race organiser, All Sport Productions’ CEO Bruce Dunn, Walmart’s partnership will help the race grow and upgrade “key areas of the overall participant and spectator experience.”
“Walmart’s partnership with Joe Martin Stage Race is a game-changer for our event,” Dunn said.
“The ultimate goal is to not only make the Joe Martin Stage Race the largest competitive pro cycling race in North America, but it’s my dream and hope to elevate road cycling in the United States to the same level as many of the other professional races in sports in our country.”
Road racing in the United States has suffered in recent years. Races have disappeared from the calendar left and right, helped along by the cancellation of the WorldTour men’s and women’s stage race, the Tour of California and the coronavirus pandemic.
Walmart and the Walton brothers Tom and Steuart, who work for the Walton Family Foundation, played a significant role in the Cyclocross World Championships taking place in the USA in 2022.
According to Kim Tunick, senior director of brand experiences and partnerships at Walmart, its partnership with the race is part of its commitment to the community and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
“We are excited to be the title partner of this premier cycling event in North America that will be held in Northwest Arkansas, where our company was founded nearly 60 years ago,” Tunick said.