The Joe Martin Stage Race is now one of the premier races on the USA cycling calendar. It has a long history dating back 45 years and has been a UCI race since 2015. It’s a chance for American based cyclists to shine before joining the European peloton. Plus also for the American stars to come home and show their faces on their domestic scene.
Chloe Dygert won the 2019 race at the start of a season where she became the TT world champion. EF-TIBCO’s Lauren Stephens is a double winner in 2014 and 2015, recent retirees Ruth Winder and Katie Hall won in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Coryn Labecki won in 2016, the year before she moved to Team DSM. 2021’s race saw Skylar Schneider take the win over Veronica Ewers. Ewers took a last-minute guest spot for TIBCO and her 2nd place encouraged the team to sign her straight away!
For 2022’s edition, Walmart has been announced as Title Partner. The race will take place in Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA from 19-22 May 2022. The recent cyclocross world championships were also held in Fayetteville with Walmart sponsorship. Walmart itself has its HQ in nearby Bentonville, so the links with events on its doorstep are clear. The supermarket brand has other ties to cycling as well. The ‘heirs to Walmart’ used their private equity firm to buy Rapha back in 2017.
Whilst my intro primarily focused on the women’s race, there is also a men’s race and an amateur race. Both the men and women race will race 4 stages. An important point to note is that the men’s race and women’s race will have equal prize money. It’s a contentious issue in the cycling world, with great prize money differences in many major races. All in all, some 800 cyclists representing around 27 nations will be competing for titles in men and women professional and amateur divisions.
“Walmart’s partnership with Joe Martin Stage Race is a game-changer for our event. With Walmart’s partnership, we will be able to not only grow the race in terms of prominence but to also upgrade key areas of the overall participant and spectator experience.”All Sports Productions CEO, Bruce Dunn