Joe Martin Stage Race: Carpenter, Winder win PRT opener

Robin Carpenter and Ruth Winder won the first event of the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour, the Joe Martin Stage Race, over the weekend.

Robin Carpenter (Holowesko-Citadel) and Ruth Winder (UnitedHealthcare) have assumed early leadership of the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour men’s and women’s standings, with respective wins at the Joe Martin Stage Race in Arkansas. The four-day race concluded Sunday with a technical criterium in downtown Fayetteville.

For Winder, who won three of the four stages (including Sunday’s crit), the race played out in textbook style.

“I honestly think every day had its challenges. But that’s what makes for a really good stage race,” said the 23-year-old Yorkshire, England native. “The crit finished really fast, with attacks going all the way to the last lap. My teammates looked after me the whole race.

“Diana [Carolina Penuela] led me out around the last corner, so all I had to do was put my head down and go for the line. I guess I picked the right time to go, because I ended up winning the sprint.”

Winder edged out Claire Rose (Visit Dallas-DNA) and Rally Pro Cycling’s Sara Bergen on Sunday’s criterium podium.

Carpenter, who won the overall title by way of his victory Sunday, took advantage of Sunday afternoon downpours on his way to the criterium sprint win.

“I got into a break midway through the crit, when it was seriously raining. When I saw how Rally was taking the turns, I knew I could go faster,” Carpenter said. “I got away solo with four laps to go because of a bonus sprint and managed to hold it to the line just ahead of [Eric] Marcotte. It was a hard race that really required skill, tactics, and strength.”

Carpenter took top honors in Sunday’s crit ahead of Marcotte and Silber’s Alexander Cowan, who were 4 and 5 seconds behind, respectively.

The USA Cycling Pro Road Tour heads to Anniston, Alabama next weekend for the Sunny King Criterium and the Anniston McClellan Road Race. As for Carpenter, he’s putting his newfound lead in the season-long points race in its proper context.

“The Pro Road Tour lead is nice, but [I’m only leading] because I won the first race,” he said. “The rest will come as long as I have a good season.”

Women’s general classification

1. Ruth Winder, UnitedHealthcare, 6:30:24
2. Lauren Stephens, TIBCO, at :24
3. Claire Rose, Visit Dallas-DNA, at :41
4. Kathryn Buss, TIBCO, at :45
5. Sara Bergen, Rally, at :50

Men’s general classification

1. Robin Carpenter, Holowesko-Citadel 10:08:52
2. Adam De Vos, Rally, at :16
3. Gavin Mannion, UnitedHealthcare, at :24
4. Robert Britton, Rally, at :24
5. Evan Huffman, Rally, at :27