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Eisenhart, Winder lead USA Cycling Pro Road Tour at halfway mark

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Tj Eisenhart (Holowesko/Citadel) after holding on for the win

Tj Eisenhart (Holowesko/Citadel) after holding on for the win
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Tj Eisenhart (Holowesko) takes over the leaders jersey after stage 2

Tj Eisenhart (Holowesko) takes over the leaders jersey after stage 2
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Overall winner Ruth Winder (UnitedHealthcare)

Overall winner Ruth Winder (UnitedHealthcare)
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Best young rider Ruth Winder (UHC)

Best young rider Ruth Winder (UHC)
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Gavin Mannion (UnitedHealthcare) is one of the GC threats this week

Gavin Mannion (UnitedHealthcare) is one of the GC threats this week
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)

The USA Cycling Pro Road Tour (PRT) has hit the halfway mark for the 2017 season, In the individual standings, two young riders, TJ Eisenhart and Ruth Winder, have taken charge, while Rally Cycling men and UnitedHealthcare women have massive advantages in the team standings.

The first 11 events of the 19-event PRT calendar have featured stage races, criteriums, one-day races and omniums in seven states across the US. With the conclusion of the six-stage North Star Grand Prix presented by North Memorial Health in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the men's individual standings remained tight with Eisenhart (Holowesko-Citadel presented by Hincapie Sportswear) retaining a nine-point lead over Gavin Mannion (UnitedHealthcare).

With 14 podiums early in the season between stage and general classification results, 24-year-old Ruth Winder (UnitedHealthcare) extended her lead in the women's individual standings with three podium finishes at North Star to lead her teammate Katherine Hall by 328 points.

"USA Cycling's Pro Road Tour includes the premier American cycling events and the North Star Grand Prix p/b North Memorial Health is proud to be the only six-stage race for both men women athletes on this calendar," said Race Director Brendon Hale, who's Minnesota event closed the first half of the PRT schedule this summer. "We hosted 11 UCI and National teams and had riders from eight nations. Our fans love to watch these professional athletes compete here, and follow them as they achieve success around the world."

Eisenhart holds off Mannion in men's rankings

Eisenhart is in his first year riding for Holowesko-Citadel presented by Hincapie Racing. He got the wheels turning in 2017 with the Joe Martin Stage Race, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. While he didn't score a result, he helped his teammate Robin Carpenter to the overall GC victory.

The Utah native had a consistent performance with a third overall finish at the five-stage Tour of the Gila. He then triumphed to the overall victory, with two podiums, at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, a staple in American racing for 33 years.

"Honestly, for me the season is going basically perfect, according to plan, just righteous. This is what I came to the team for, to be the leader at these GC races, and I proved at Gila that I was ready for that. And then at Redlands, again I showed that I could finish it off," Eisenhart said. "Basically, every race we go to, there is not a doubt in our minds that we are going to win. We may not win, but going into it, we are at least pretty sure one of us is going to win. That's pretty awesome, having belief and confidence in everyone on the team, and believing that anyone on your team can win."

Mannion scored fourth-place GC finishes at both the Joe Martin Stage Race and the Tour of the Gila. Junior world time trial champion Brandon McNulty (Rally Cycling), just 19 years of age, won the opening individual test at the North Star Grand Prix and held on to finish second overall, propelling himself into third in the PRT standings. Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling) and Carpenter, the latter the winner of the tough one-day Winston-Salem Cycling Classic, round out the top five in the PRT standings.

Winning Winder

On the women's side, Winder has been a dominant force on the domestic scene, winning the Joe Martin and Redlands Stage Races and the McClellan Road Race. She finished on the podium three times at the North Star Grand Prix and was third place overall before winning the bronze medal at the Pro Road Race National Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Hall had an impressive Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women's Race empowered with SRAM in May, part of the women's WorldTour and PRT. She showcased her talent in her home state with a stage win and second overall, propelling her into second place on the PRT standings and creating an impressive one-two punch for UnitedHealthCare.

Third in the individual rankings, Lauren Stephens (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) has been consistent all season, capturing silver medals in two national championships events, the professional time trial and criterium. She began the season strongly with second and fifth overall at the Joe Martin Stage Race and Tour of the Gila, respectively. Her wins on the season include a stage of the Redlands Bicycle Classic and the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic.

Rally, UnitedHealthcare dominate team rankings

Rally Cycling leads Holowesko-Citadel by 342 points in the men's team standings, and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling a further 109 points behind. Cylance Cycling and Axeon Hagens Berman round out the Top 5.

The UnitedHealthcare women's squad has close to double the number of points as compared to the next closest squad. The women in blue have 1,612 points, compared to Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank's 841 points. After solid results at the Saint Francis Tulsa Tough and North Star Grand Prix, Hagens Berman - Supermint has moved into fourth with Sho-Air Twenty20 rounding out the Top 5 on the women's side.

A four-week break in the schedule allowed athletes to compete in multiple national championships across the US. The battle for PRT points will return July 15 at the Andersen Banducci Twilight Criterium in Boise, Idaho, and July 19-23 at the Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, Oregon. The calendar of events concludes Sept. 10 for both men and women at the Thompson Criterium of Doylestown in Penn.

Pro Road Tour Standings

Men's Individual Standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1TJ Eisenhart (Holowesko-Citadel)236pts
2Gavin Mannion (UnitedHealthCare)227
3Brandon McNulty (Rally Cycling)208
4Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling)200
5Robin Carpenter (Holowesko-Citadel)184

Women's Individual Standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ruth Winder (UnitedHealthCare)692pts
2Katharine Hall (UnitedHealthCare)364
3Lauren Stephens (TIBCO-SVB)330
4Tayler Wiles (UnitedHealthCare)275
5Emma White (Rally Cycling)241

Men's Team Standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rally Cycling1170pts
2Holowesko-Citadel651
3UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling532
4Cylance Cycling349
5Axeon Hagens Berman240

Women's Team Standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling1612pts
2Team TIBCO - Silicon Valley Bank841
3Rally Cycling647
4Hagens Berman - Supermint394
5Sho-Air TWENTY20268