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U.S. Racing This Week: Joe Martin edges toward California and SpeedWeek wraps

  • By Brian Holcombe
  • Published May. 6, 2011
  • Updated May. 6, 2011 at 8:54 AM EDT

U.S. Racing This Week is back from a two-week hiatus just in time for the final domestic prep race before the Amgen Tour of California. USA CRITS SpeedWeek also wraps up this weekend and a new criterium from the folks at Project Sport goes under the East Bay lights on Saturday.

Before taking a look at this week’s races, it’s important to note that Jelly Belly-Kenda’s Brad Huff last Sunday rode a long, long sprint to a National Racing Calendar win at the Dana Point Grand Prix. Huff jumped out of a corner with 700 meters to go, ran through the remnants of a breakaway and took his first NRC win since last year’s Tulsa Tough.

Huff has had a couple of thin years in the win column and the result at Dana Point, over Ben Kersten (V Australia) and Rahsaan Bahati (SKLZ-Pista Palace), may be a sign of good things to come for the Missourian.

To the Ozarks

The Joe Martin Stage Race headlines the U.S. calendar this week and rolled out Thursday with a 2.5-mile uphill time trial in the Devils Den State Park. With the first two NRC stage races notched on his bibs, Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.com) took the men’s TT before Janel Holcomb (Colavita-Forno d’Asolo) joined him on the inside line to the almost $30,000 combined purse. They’ll wear the yellow and pink leaders’ jerseys, respectively, in Friday’s road race.

In its 34th year, Joe Martin is the hilly antithesis of last week’s Tour of the Gila. While Luis Amaran (Jamis-Sutter Home) won a stage at each – and the overall in Arkansas – en route to his 2010 NRC title, Joe Martin is an exercise for the rolleurs and the sprinters. The uphill TT is short enough that the power climbers do well and the remainder of the week is oriented toward the all-rounders and fast finishers. Winners in the last few years have included Rory Sutherland (multiple times), Alison Powers (twice) and Katharine Carroll.

While it’s the final stage race for the U.S. men’s squads before California, Joe Martin doesn’t necessarily tell us much ahead of the big show. If guys are struggling in the Ozark Mountains, they could be at the close of a big training block and entering a taper; on the other hand riders going well may face a bloc headwind of elevation and high speeds when they join the ProTeams in Lake Tahoe.

That said, Joe Martin last year gave us the final confirmation on home soil of standout Andrew Talansky, who will be at California with his new Garmin-Cervélo squad, and was Amaran’s last big stand after a raucous spring campaign. Colavita-Baci rocked the women’s contest and the downtown criterium was a crash fest with multiple riders, including Jason Donald (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) leaving with collarbones in more than one piece.

Take a look at the racing in Arkansas this week; it’s worth your attention.

Joe Martin Stage Race

Fayetteville, Arkansas
May 5-9
*National Racing Calendar
Stage 1: Time Trial
Thursday May 5
Winners: Janel Holcomb (Colavita-Forno d’Asolo), Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.com)

Stage 2: Road Race
Friday May 6
12:30 p.m. (men) / 2:00 p.m. (women)
110 mi. (men) / 64 mi. (women)

Stage 3: Road Race
Saturday May 7
11:45 a.m (women) / 2:45 p.m. (men)
63 mi. (women) / 109 mi. (men)

Stage 4: Criterium
Sunday May 8
12:10 p.m. (women) / 2:00 p.m. (men)
55 min. (women) / 85 min. (men)

USA CRITS SpeedWeek

Southeast United States
Closes May 8

Spartanburg Regional Classic
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Friday May 6
6:30 p.m. (women) / 8:00 p.m. (men)
50 laps (women) / 70 laps (men)

Dilworth Criterium
Charlotte, North Carolina
Saturday May 7
1:30 p.m. (women) / 4:00 p.m. (men)
50 min. (women) / 75 min. (men)

Global Imports Sandy Springs Cycling Challenge
Sandy Springs, Georgia
Sunday May 8
2:15 p.m. (women) / 4:15 p.m. (men)
40 km (women) / 50 km (men)

Pittsburg Criterium
Pittsburg, California
Saturday May 7
6:35 p.m. (women) / 8:00 p.m. (men)
*Total purse of $10,000 split evenly across men and women

FILED UNDER: News / Road TAGS: /

Brian Holcombe

Brian Holcombe

Brian Holcombe is the editor of VeloNews.com. Holcombe joined VeloNews in 2009 following years spent introducing students to whitewater kayaking and working in avalanche control, among other more risky ventures. A Master of PR and Marketing Communications, his graduate work at the University of Denver focused on innovation, digital media management and custom publishing. Holcombe is a CSU Ram fan and proud parent, and has been accused of attacking too much on the VN lunch ride. Follow him on Twitter @FCBrian.

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