The Joe Martin Stage Race is in the books, and to say Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank had a successful week would be an understatement. After four days of hot, challenging, and competitive racing around Fayetteville, Arkansas, Emma Langley took home two stage wins, plus the Queen of the Mountains jersey, and one of our newest riders, Veronica Ewers, scooped up an incredible second place overall.
Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank came out of the starting blocks at 100 percent on Stage 1 and drove the pace right from the bottom of the day’s test, a 14km climb. The peloton splintered when the pack reached the QOM, and Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank successfully placed four out of the ten riders in the breakaway. After an attack from Rally, the race split again, this time with Ewers and Clara Honsinger in the lead group of five. The breakaway was almost three minutes ahead by the finish, which saw Ewers finish third.
Stage 2′s road race featured the Devil’s Den descent and climb in the middle of the stage. The team kept the pressure on, and was rewarded with a solo win by Langley after a gutsy 20km attack from the finish.
“Going straight into the climb, Nicole (Frain) kept the pressure on the entire way up, and we crested the top with a group of maybe 10, with five of us in the group,” Langley said. “We wanted to keep it hard and put pressure on the other GC contenders. Lauren (Stephens), Nicole, and I were throwing attacks, and finally, mine stuck with about 20km to go.
“From there, it was head down and pedal into the finish,” Langley said. “All in all, a great day with every single one of us – Maddy (Ward), Nicole, Clara, Veronica, Lauren, and myself doing our jobs, looking out for each other,and communicating well.” Emma Langley wins stage 2 of the Joe Martin Stage Race. Photo/Kai Caddy
The team’s momentum continued with a podium sweep of Stage 3, a short but testing
uphill time trial out of Devil’s Den State Park. Langely took first, Ewers second, and Honsinger third in an impressive display of strength. The results put Ewers just four seconds behind the GC leader, Skyler Schneider, before the final stage.
Stage 4 would challenge the riders with a technical/hilly downtown criterium. The GC was tight with the top four riders, all within a minute of the overall. Our two TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank riders were sitting within striking distance of the pink jersey. Ewers was sitting second, just four seconds behind and Honsinger was tied for third, 26 seconds back.
“Our plan was to make the race hard leading into the first sprint,” Curi said. “We had to be active at the front to put pressure on Schneider. The team did a great job of positioning themselves at the front, and as with any bike race, the plan you come up with also needs to be flexible as other teams have their own plan. Both Rally and DNA were sending riders off the front to make the race active, yet no one was successful in getting away.”
“Veronica did a great job following Skyler and Emma managed to secure more points to wrap up keeping the QOM jersey within the team.”
Despite several attempts to distance Schneider, the race came down to a reduced bunch kick up the challenging Church St. climb. Schneider proved she is a force to be reckoned with when comes to sprinting and blasted up the hill for the win. Ewers had an incredible final kick, but was pipped at the line for second.
“I really appreciated the opportunity to ride for Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank this weekend, and regardless of all of us not having really raced together previously, we were so cohesive in our racing that it felt like we’d raced together before,” Ewers said. “Though we didn’t get the individual GC result we wanted, the team showed our depth in winning the overall team classification as well as several podiums. It was a really hard and fun last few days, and we’re all proud of what we gave out there.”