36th ANNUAL JOE MARTIN STAGE RACE P/B NATURE VALLEY ATTRACTS TOP U.S. PRO CYCLING TEAMS
Fayetteville, Ark. (2013) – The 36th edition of the Joe Martin Stage Race p/b Nature Valley will kick off April 25– 28
When the late Joe Martin began the Fayetteville Spring Classic cycle race in 1978, he might not have realized it would become one of the longest and continually held stage races in the country.
On April 25 – 28, the Joe Martin Stage Race, renamed after Martin’s death in 1988, will commence its 36th consecutive year in existence and the 11th consecutive year on the National Race Calendar. The NRC is the pro and elite amateur cycling tour of USA Cycling. The JMSR is the only event in Arkansas on the NRC and has become one of the premier events on the professional cycling tour.
“Being able to celebrate 35 years last year was a great accomplishment and it speaks a lot about this community, the racers, and the fans that come and support it,” said Bruce Dunn, race director and owner of All Sports Productions, Inc. “A lot of great races aren’t around after ten years, and here we are, now celebrating our 36th year as a race. That is such a great accomplishment for the community and for the supporters of this event.”
The four-day, four-stage race will offer more than $55,000 in cash and merchandise to competitors across 11 categories. This year event planners are expecting 700 riders with approximately 1,500 support personnel for the four-day event. There will be riders from 20 countries and all 50 states.
In 2011 one of the most decorated climbers in the professional peloton over the past ten years, Francisco Mancebo put on a great performance the first three days of the Pro Men’s race. Due to some key injuiries to his teammates he was unfortunately not able to retain his leader’s jersey on the final day. Instead, the Bissell Pro Cycling team and their overall general classification rider, Frank Pipp, were able to finally break through for the top placing. 2011 was a tremendous final stage effort for the team to take the leader’s jersey away from Mancebo.
2012 saw Francisco making up for the 2011 disappoint with a dominating performance and taking the overall winner’s prize. His team was in full support and it showed.
This sets up an epic battle for 2013 with Bissell Pro Cycling Team and Frank Pipp combined with Mancebo’s team representing a new title sponsor, 5hr Energy presented by Kenda. Mancebo will have his top lieutenants to do battle at the 36th anniversary of the race. In words of Frankie Andreu, team director, “last year we came to Joe Martin to win the overall prize from the previous year’s event where we literally had the leader’s jersey ripped off our backs. This year’s race is one of our key events and we will be coming for the second win in a row”! Francisco is the current leader of NRC men’s standing.
Also in the mix this year will be the Jelly Belly P/B Kenda, Jamis Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home, and the Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies pro cycling teams. All are mainstays on the NRC calendar with their top riders in attendance. Internationally, the Colombian National Team will have a very strong squad to contend for the overall title.
On the Pro Women’s side several teams are returning to contest for a new overall individual, as well as team general classification titles. Coming back after a two-year hiatus is the 2009 and 2010 defending women’s champion, Alison Powers. She is returning with a new team as well. The NOW and Novartis for MS Women’s Cycling Team is a new team on the professional women’s circuit. Alison is the current leader of NRC women’s standing.
“We always want to see more racers each year,” Dunn said, “But what we’re seeing each year is an incredible increase in the quality of riders. Quantity is great, but we also want to see the reputation of the race grow each year as well. This year’s early-season commitments from teams should serve to make this a reality.”
The races begin Thursday, April 25th with a Pro/Elite Men and Women uphill time-trial from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. that will push even the most qualified athletes. A racer will start every 30 seconds to race the 2.5-mile climb out of Devil’s Den State Park on Highway 170.
The next day, April 26th, the Pro Men’s road race begins at 2:00 p.m. The men will race 110 miles south from the Walmart on 62 West and will continue on Highways 62, 45, and 59 until riders hit Mountainburg and will turn and head north on Highway 71. Racers are expected in town around 6 p.m. and will finish on Dickson Street. The women will start their 64-mile race at the First Baptist Church in Cedarville at 2:30 p.m. and are slated to finish around 5:00 p.m. on Dickson Street. The Pro Men’s and Elite/Amateur Men’s races will finish between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Saturday morning, the amateur categories will begin their race with the uphill time-trial from 8:00 to 11:00a.m. at Devil’s Den State Park.
A road race for both the professionals and amateurs on Saturday, April 27th, at 11:00 a.m., will start and finish at the intersection of 15th and Razorback streets. The course length will vary between 46 and 115 miles depending on the level of the rider.
Races on Sunday will be very family and community-oriented as the final day of racing takes place around the Fayetteville square. A free fun ride for kids between the ages of three and twelve will begin at 1:15 p.m. in downtown Fayetteville. Inflatable bouncies, vendors featuring food, outdoor productions, refreshments, and demonstrations will be on the Square from 7:45 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Prizes will be given away to the public throughout the day.
The final race of the event, the criterium, will begin and end at the corner of Church Avenue and Center Street. This course will be one of the easiest to observe for the community and usually presents some exciting finishes. The pro women will start at Noon and the men will follow at 2:00 p.m.
“The really special thing about the Joe Martin is the people that return to Fayetteville,” Dunn said. “These are the people that make this race bigger and better every year. But more importantly, this race has attracted those riders back to the area for vacations with their families. They come back every year for the race, but we know that they are starting to come back because of the attraction of the area and the city of Fayetteville.”
For more information, visit www.joemartinstagerace.com.
About All Sports Productions, Inc.
The Joe Martin Stage Race is promoted by All Sports Productions, Inc. All Sports Productions is a sports event management and consulting company, which promotes cycling, running, duathlons, triathlons, adventure runs and other outdoor events. The goal of the company is to produce races at the highest standards which are locally, regionally and nationally recognized events with a festival-like atmosphere. The mission of each event is to engage new participants and spectators in a healthy, multi-sport lifestyle.
About the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC)
The National Racing Calendar (NRC) is the premier season-long domestic road cycling series sanctioned and owned by USA Cycling. With an overall ranking system that determines the best individual male and female cyclists, as well as the best teams in the U.S., the NRC features the nation’s top Pro-Am road race events, and is open to both professional and amateur cyclists. For more information on the NRC, visit usacycling.org/nrc.
(news release provided by Joe Martin Stage Race)