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Joe Martin Stage Race - NE
USA, May 13-15, 2005
Stage 2 - May 14: Road Race, 92/68 miles
Abraham gets the money and Freedman stays strong
By Neemah Aaron
After an opening stage of relatively few attacks, today's second stage saw many attempts by Health Net to send riders off the front. But thanks to Team Jelly Belly's ability to control the front of the pack, each rider was systematically reabsorbed into the peloton, which brought the race down to a fast, slightly downhill, sprint finish to end stage two of the Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, Ark.
The stage victory went to Monex's Emile Abraham who was able to inch past Karl Menzies (Advantage Benefits Endeavor Cycling Team's), who took a close second for the second day in a row. Jelly Belly's Ben Brooks, who won yesterday's race, took third.
Gord Fraser (Health Net), Vince Laza (AeroSpace) and Dave Sachs (Advantage Benefits Endeavor Cycling Team) attacked the field just 7 miles into the race, and the three got out to a two-minute lead. But Sachs was soon dropped seven miles later. Frazer and Laza continued their efforts and managed to build a 3:44 lead 37 miles into the race.
Then around the 40-mile mark, two more Health Net riders, John Lieswyn and Doug Ollerenshaw, were joined by AeroSpace's Eric Murphy and broke off the peloton to attempt to chase down the two race leaders. Soon another Health Net rider, Chris Wherry, joined the attack party and managed to catch the race leaders, who now only held a one-minute lead.
Then 63 miles into the race, Frazer and Laza began to feel their day's effort and fell back into the main pack. Health Net was still clinging to a one-minute lead as Chris Wherry rode out front, and he was eventually joined by his teammates Lieswyn and Ollerenshaw.
The three riders managed to dangle in front by 20-30 seconds for the next 20 miles. But Team Jelly Belly had other plans as they lead a charging peloton into the final 10 miles and caught the Health Net team. There were several other attempts by various riders to break away, but all efforts were proved futile as once again the race came down to a sprint finish.
Still no clear favorites have emerged, which means it will probably come down to the 2.5 mile uphill time trial later today.
It began to look like the second stage of the Joe Martin Stage Race was going to be dominated by a single rider, as Candice Blickem (Quark Cycling Team) jumped out to an attack 12 miles into the race. She was followed by teammate Grace Fleury, but Fleury fell back into the pack two miles later.
Blickem built time gaps as big as five minutes, but it was down to three minutes 60 miles into the race. With just a couple miles left, her lead was just one minute. And then all her hopes went flying by her as nine riders rode past for the sprint finish.
Ford's Nicole Freedman took the victory and was followed by Laura Van Gilder (Quark C) for second and Liza Rachetto (Lipton) third. Blickem ended up finshing 10th as the women head into the challenging uphill Time Trial this afternoon.
Women Pro 1 2 1 Nicole Freedman (Ford-Basis) 2 Laura Van Gilder (Quark Cycling Team)