The Joe Martin four-day, four-stage race offered more than $55,000 in cash and merchandise to competitors across 11 categories. This year event planners predicted over 700 riders with approximately 1,500 support personnel for the four-day event. There were riders from 17 countries and all 50 states. The stage race consisted of a 2.5 mile uphill time trial, 110 mile road race, 92 mile road race, and a 90 minute criterium for the pros and a 60 minute criterium for the category 1/2 on the last day.
Matt Crane of the UnitedHealthcare Pro cycling Team Presented by Maxxis attacked late out of a nearly race-long break and just held on to take the victory in the criterium of the Joe Martin Stage Race. It was his teammate Karl Menzies who he just nipped at the line.
Crane joined a two-rider move on the third lap of the 90-minute race, which increased to four a few laps later when Caleb Fairly (Felt-Holoweski) bridged up. The four riders, including Aaron Kemps (Fly V) and Ken Hanson (Team Type 1), worked well together to stay ahead of the Jamis-led peloton, which was protecting race leader Luis Amaran.
“It was a good break for Jamis to let go,” Crane said. “We just tried to keep it steady and maintain a good gap. The course was windy with a lot of corners. We were all trying to find the spots to take advantage of the wind or take short pulls to stay out of it.”
With five laps to go, the break still held a 0:20 lead on the bunch, which was whittling down on the hilly, technical course through attrition and the occasional crash.
“I knew as the race got late that I would need to make a move, so I took a bit of a rest for a lap or two and shook the legs out,” Crane said.
With three laps to go, he put out his first feeler, attacking up the hill on the back side of the course. Hansen chased him down and he slotted back in and took his turns again in the break.
“With two to go, I attacked in the same place, but harder this time,” he said. And this time, he got a gap and held it. “I knew if I made my move out of the break, the guys would take care of things behind me, so I just put my head down and rode.”
Which is exactly what happened. Almost too well for Crane. On the final, steep pitch up to the line, Karl Menzies at the pointy end of the remaining pack, and he barely missed out on the stage win.
“These guys have been racing together since the start of the Southeast crits,” said team directeur sportif Mike Tamayo. “They got four wins during Speed Week, and then they came here and got another one. It just shows what working together can do.”
While UnitedHealthcare sewed up the overall win, Team Globalbike went into the final stage on Sunday (60 minute Criterium) holding the yellow jersey with a 19 second lead. They worked really well as a team and finished like they had planned with the win. Boyd Johnson of Boydbikes stated: “It was great to see how the team banded together for the common cause of helping our teammate Bobby Sweeting win. All week long even our competitors were praising how well we worked together. It’s this kind of teamwork and selfless dedication that makes me proud to sponsor an organization such as Globalbike.
Team Globalbike is based out of Spartanburg, SC. The team is the main marketing effort of globalbike, a grassroots non-profit that supplies bicycles in third world countries to health care workers in poverty stricken areas. Check out this worthwhile cause. The globalbike cycling team will be raising money throughout the season to provide bicycles to people who would otherwise walk to perform critical functions such as delivering HIV/AIDS medication in Zambia. On a bike, these people can travel three times farther, carry five times as much and see three times the number of people.
Overall results are posted: www.joemartinstagerace.com