The 2005 edition of the Joe Martin Stage Race (May 13-15) once again features on the US National Racing Calendar and offers a total of $30,000 in prize money for the men's and women's pro categories. In addition, the race hosts 14 other categories catering for junior, senior and master-level riders.
The pros will open the event with a road race on Friday before tackling a second road race and a time trial on Saturday. Competition then concludes on Sunday with a spectator friendly criterium. The Joe Martin Stage Race's mid-May slot bridges NRC events in Georgia and Russelville, Arkansas and this year's edition is set to attract a top-class field, including the Health Net presented by Maxxis squad, which has already confirmed it will field Gord Fraser, sprinter Ivan Dominguez, and seasoned veteran John Lieswyn.
"The Joe Martin Stage Race is easily one of the most challenging events on the calendar," said Health Net team director Jeff Corbett. "This year the race is an extremely important component in our preparation for the USPRO Championships in June. Last season, we relied on the Joe Martin Stage Race to help prepare us for the Olympic trials and Jason McCartney, who actually won two stages in Fayetteville, ended up with a trip to Athens."
The Jelly Belly-PoolGel team also plans on fielding a strong team that will include last year's third-place finisher Ben Brooks, 2001 U23 world time trial champion Danny Pate, and Brice Jones. Like Corbett, Jelly Belly-PoolGel team director Danny Van Haute feels the Joe Martin Stage Race offers the best scenario leading up to the USPRO Championships. "This race is very important to us for a couple of different reasons," Van Haute said. "Joe Martin offers us the perfect preparation for the Wachovia series and the terrain and courses are exactly what every pro team in the U.S. covets that time of year."
Several of the country's most notable women's teams have also confirmed including Ford-Basis, DeFeet and Velo Bella. Colavita-Cooking Light is sending a four-woman squad that includes Dotsie Cowden and Canadian Olympic team member Sue Palmer-Komar. "This was one of the first races I put on our schedule when the NRC was announced," said Colavita-Cooking Light team director John Alsedek. "It's well run, the courses are fantastic and it has a great spot on the calendar, not to mention the Fayetteville area is a beautiful place to spend a long weekend."
For more information see www.joemartinstagerace.com.