Murphy and Rivera Take Dual Victories on Stage 3 of Joe Martin Stage Race
The Joe Martin Stage Race continued Saturday with a challenging road race through Prairie Grove, Arkansas. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team took victory in both the men’s and women’s fields in stage 3: John Murphy earned his second victory in a row, while Coryn Rivera improved on her second place on stage 2 with victory in the women’s race.
The women raced 100 kilometers, including two laps of a 37-kilometer circuit. Team UnitedHealthcare rider Laura Brown attacked on the first climb with two other riders, staying away from the peloton for a full lap and building an advantage of 40 seconds before the peloton regained contact. Not long after the breakaway was captured, a larger breakaway group formed. UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team riders Alexis Ryan, Linda Villumsen, and Scotti Wilborne were present in the new breakaway along with other GC contenders, making the move a threat for the overall race lead. The peloton chased hard to bring back the dangerous group and with 10 kilometers remaining, a sprint finish seemed likely. Scotti Wilborne then launched a solo attack, allowing her teammates to regroup and organize for the sprint finish. The team executed a textbook lead out train with Coryn Rivera taking the win and teammate Alexis Ryan holding on to 2nd place. Pleased with the result, Sporting Director Rachel Heal commented, “The team rode a great race today, riding in the breakaways and applying pressure when it counted. After the disappointment of missing the win yesterday, they stepped up and really proved themselves today with the 1, 2 punch!”
In the men’s race, Brad White raced into a 3-rider breakaway and pushed the pace for much of the 175-kilometer stage. Back in the peloton, attacks were launched over the climbs, but the team was able to keep John Murphy in the front group. After 100 kilometers in the breakaway, Brad White was caught by the peloton and with 14 kilometers remaining; the race was all back together. After his sprint victory on stage 2, the team was committed to protecting and leading out John Murphy for the finish. Carlos Alzate was the final teammate leading Murphy through the 300-meter uphill finishing straight for the sprint. Murphy was able to deliver the win for the second day in a row, showing strength and form earned through an intense block of European racing. “The boys put me into perfect position into the last corner, making it easy for me,” Murphy said, showing appreciation for his teammates. Sporting Director Mike Tamayo summed up the day for the team, “We went into the day with one clear goal: Stage win. And the boys pulled it together. It’s all about the teamwork and sacrifice.”
The Joe Martin Stage Race concludes Sunday with a technical criterium in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas. With three days of hard racing in their legs, the uphill finish will prove a worthy challenge for the entire peloton.