By Greg Johnson
Bruce Dunn, organiser of the National Racing Calendar Joe Martin Stage Race, has said he's delighted with the quality of the field the four day stage race has attracted for this weekend's event. Amongst those entered for the event, which gets underway with a road race tomorrow, are strong men's line-ups from the HealthNet, Toyota-United, Team BMC, and Jelly Belly squads, with Aaron's, Webcor Builders, Cheerwine, Colavita/Sutter Home, and TargetTraining.
"The race really grew last year in terms of numbers and full teams (6-10 riders) attending," explained Dunn. "We had a 200 person Pro Men/1/2 field last year and knew that we had finally made it over the hump, so to speak. This year we separated the Men's field into a Pro Men 1 and Men 1/2 race. As we thought, the pro teams are bringing their A riders.
Included in those A riders is Team BMC's Scott Moninger, who won the event with HealthNet in 2005, and is fresh from his final stage win at last week's Tour of the Gila. Also contesting the event is Mark Hekman (Abercrombie & Fitch), who recently took out the first US Criterium series round in Athens, Georgia.
"It is exciting to see more numbers as an event promoter, but when the quality increases you know the race is getting a good name," added Dunn.
"We're equally excited at how the Pro Women's race continues to have one of the largest and most competitive fields on the NRC. They are an integral part of our event."