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by Mark Zalewski
March 29, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Gilbert solos to win in De Panne opener; Summerhill takes over lead with stage win at Tour de Taiwan; Dr. Freeman breaks silence on medical package contents; UK Sport has ‘serious concerns’ about British Cycling’s handling of Shane Sutton case; Italian federation hands down bans for pay-to-race scandal; With strong Classics showing Naesen ready for De Ronde; Cipollini laments state of Italian cycling, ‘We only have Nibali’; Joe Martin Stage Race kicks-off UCI racing in US; Tour of the Gila announces teams; L’Etape South Africa postponed due to poor road surfaces; Video: Ben King shows off riding in Lucca; Video: Hunt VI.
A field of nearly 150 pro men are scheduled to participate in the Joe Martin Stage Race in Arkansas, the first U.S. race on the UCI America Tour, including 2016 PRT champion Ty Magner of Holowesko-Citadel, Rally Pro Cycling’s Sepp Kuss and Matteo Dal-Cin, and former WorldTour rider Greg Henderson, riding this year for United Healthcare. An equally-impressive pro women’s field includes the likes of Tayler Wiles (United Healthcare), Erica Allar (Rally) and Ivy Audrain of the Hagens Berman-Supermint team.
Joe Martin Stage Race Stage 2. The field and caravan on one of many rolling hills.
“As the first race of the Pro Road Tour, Joe Martin has a chance to really set the stage for America’s pro riders this year,” said race director Bruce Dunn. “We have an amazing field of athletes who will absolutely be looking to place themselves in the early PRT standings.”
“Joe Martin is always an exciting race,” said Magner. “For the most part the road stages are destined to be sprints, though the weather could mix things up this time of year. [Holowesko-Citadel is] headed there with a group capable of winning stages as well as the overall.”
“I quite like the Joe Martin course, despite the uphill time trial,” said Erica Allar (Rally). “I enjoy this race because it’s not just a climber’s course or a GC rider’s race. Riders who are strong, well-rounded, and can race a hard, technical crit have the chance to do really well.”
The racing begins Thursday with an uphill time trial at the aptly-named Devil’s Den State Park, where riders will race against the clock up three miles of switchbacks at an average grade of 5%. Friday and Saturday will both see the riders take to the roads around Fayetteville, where the men will race approximately 110 miles daily to include roughly 6,200 feet of elevation gain, and the women 64 miles/3,500 feet daily. The event concludes on Sunday with a criterium on a technical, 1.2 mile course through downtown Fayetteville.