6 years ago by Sam Wiebe

Strong Start to North American Racing at Joe Martin

Second Overall, Two Stage Wins, Four Podiums and Team Classification Win Highlight Week in Arkansas

Rally Cycling started domestic racing off with strong performances at the Joe Martin Stage Race, the first USA Cycling Pro Road Tour event of the season. In the general classification, Adam de Vos showed great early season form, fine-tuned from aggressive racing in Spain and Portugal in February and March, and finished second overall, with teammates Rob Britton in fourth and Evan Huffman in fifth. In the women's race, Sara Bergen finished fifth overall and scored three Stage podiums. The week was highlighted by Adam de Vos’s prologue win and a stunning sprint victory in stage three by Eric Young. In addition, Rally Cycling took home an four additional podiums and the men’s team classification.

Sara Bergen on one of her three trips to the podium

Rally Cycling dominated the prologue, with Adam de Vos and Rob Britton finishing first and second, with less than a single second separating the duo. Sepp Kuss crossed the line in fifth with Evan Huffman in sixth to give the men of Rally Cycling four riders in the top ten. In the women's race, Sara Bergen finished seventh with Emma White in ninth.

In the first road race, the women of Rally Cycling rode well and set up Sara Bergen for a strong second place finish. Erica Allar crossed the line in eighth with Emma White taking the lead in the Best Young Rider competition with a tenth place finish. In the men’s race, the squad stayed focused on defending Adam de Vos’s overall lead and Britton claimed a top ten result on the line.

“The women’s squad had three podiums this week, thanks to some incredible teamwork and support from everyone at Rally Cycling,” said Bergen. "During the week, we refined our lead out and were confident that if we played our cards right, we could be a threat for a stage win. With the podium placings, the resulting time bonuses lifted me up to 5th place overall. The team is highly motivated from our successful 2017 start in Arizona and Arkansas. Next stop, Tour of the Gila!”

Eric Young throws his bike across the line to win stage three by mere inches

In the second road race, Young took victory in a dramatic photo finish. The day was marked by a dangerous breakaway that challenged de Vos’s overall lead. The team responded, and with ten kilometers remaining, reeled in the break for good. Staying focused on protecting the overall lead, the squad left Young to challenge for the win alone. With the line closing in, Young charged up the left side of the road and delivered a stunning bike throw for the stage win. In the women’s event, Sara Bergen again landed on the podium in third. The result moved her into the lead in the points competition. Emma White finished in the peloton and kept the white jersey of Best Young Rider for the second straight day.

Adam de Vos held the leader's yellow jersey for three days

“The priority was maintaining the overall lead but Colin, Danny and Matteo were strong enough to bring back the breakaway," said Young after his stage win. “I was able to focus on the finish and freelanced the last few kilometers. I was a few wheels too far back starting the final 500m but got some momentum on a small dip and went as hard as I could on the left side of the road. I did my best to hang onto the lead in the last few meters, and though it was very close, I was able to win.”

The final day was filled with highs and lows for Rally Cycling as Sara Bergen finished in third for her third podium in as many days. The result moved her up to fifth overall, but she lost out on the sprint competition to Ruth Winder (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) who took the stage and overall victory. The team also forfeited the white jersey of Best Young Rider as Emma White did not start to travel home for college classes on Monday. In the men’s race, the overall win slipped away in the rain as Robin Carpenter (Holowesko Citadel) broke clear for the stage win and overall title.

Sepp Kuss, Eric Young and Colin Joyce battle through the rain in stage four

“Overall the teams are on a great level, and rode better than they ever have this early in the season," said Team Director Pat McCarty. “On the men’s side, we won two stages and defended the overall with class. It's a shame we got beat in a rainy, shortened criterium. Carpenter was exceptional today, and the chaos of a wet, technical course made controlling the race tough. We are still very pleased how well the teams are riding with our North American campaign just getting under way.”

Joe Martin Stage Race Final General Classification | Men
1. Robin Carpenter (Holowesko|Citadel|Hincapie)
2. Adam De Vos (Rally Cycling)
3. Gavin Mannion (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)
4. Robert Britton (Rally Cycling)
5. Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling)
6. Kyle Murphy (Cylance Cycling)
7. Nigel Ellsay (Silber Pro Cycling)
8. Rui Oliveira (Axeon Hagens Berman)
9. Jack Burke (Aevolo Cycling)
10. Alex Cataford (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)

Joe Martin Stage Race Final General Classification | Women
1. Ruth Winder (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)
2. Lauren Stephens (Team Tibco - Silicon Valley Bank)
3. Claire Rose (Visit Dallas DNA Cycling)
4. Kathryn Buss (Team Tibco - Silicon Valley Bank)
5. Sara Bergen (Rally Cycling)
6. Katharine Hall (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)
7. Ingrid Drexel (Team Tibco - Silicon Valley Bank)
8. Tayler Wiles (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)
9. Marie-Soleil Blais (Team Elevate Racing)
10. Diana Penuela (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)