UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling take on Joe Martin Stage Race
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling men and women will take the start line for a four-day UCI 2.2 Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, Arkansas starting April 12
Men and women’s squads ready to compete in Arkansas
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling brings a well-balanced men’s team to the Natural State, including Colombian climbers Janier Acevedo and Daniel Jaramillo. Fast men on the squad include Sebastian Haedo, winner of stage 2 and third on stage 3 in 2017, and Eric Marcotte, second in the criterium last year. All-rounders Lachlan Norris and Jonny Clarke, second in the Tour of Taiwan recently, will be looking for opportunities to deliver.
Fresh off the podium at Alabama Cycling Classic last weekend, Colombian Diana Peñuela, Lauren Hall and Australian Lauretta Hanson will be starting the Joe Martin Stage Race. Hall is looking to better her second place in last year’s penultimate stage.
“There will be seven of us at Joe Martin Stage Race,” Hall said. “Katie Hall and Leah Thomas will be looking forward to the hills and time trial, while Shawn Morelli, Lizzy Banks, Diana, Lauretta and I will be eyeing any opening to take advantage of. We’ve had great success at Joe Martin before, and now is our chance to work as a team and pick up more results.”
The first road race of Joe Martin features a completely new, 113-mile (182km) course finishing atop Mount Sequoyah. The women will tackle much of the same route, but modified to 68 miles (109km).
“It’s going to be a very different race this year with a harder uphill finish on day one and the TT being on the third stage,” Jonny Clarke said. “Personally, I think a big break could go up the road on day one and that will be the GC, but you never know. We’ll race hard and hopefully come out with a good result.”
Following a tough opening first day is another leg burner with 5,400 feet (1,645 meters) of climbing. At 73 miles (117 kilometers) into the stage, the riders will hit a 9.2 mile (15 kilometer) uphill section that has an average grade of almost three percent. If that isn’t enough, the final 400 meters to the line is also uphill and averages eight percent.
Moved from the opening stage to stage 3, the uphill time trial will take tired legs up three miles (4.8km) through Devil’s Den State Park at an average grade of five percent. Closing the four-day race is a technical downtown criterium with an uphill start/finish line the next day.