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Joe Martin Stage Race: Coles-Lyster steals victory on final day in Arkansas

Emma Langley secures overall after four days of racing.

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DNA Pro Cycling’s Maggie Coles-Lyster out-kicked L39ion of Los Angeles’ Skylar Schneider to win the final day in downtown Fayetteville at the Walmart Joe Martin Stage Race.

EF Education-Tibco-SVB’s Emma Langley crossed the line soon after to secure the overall GC. The result was her first overall victory at a UCI stage race.

“After a good race yesterday, I had a pretty comfortable lead but anything can happen,” Langley said. “It was all about controlling today, and the girls did just that for me. I told you after stage 1 that we didn’t have one specific GC leader. Any five of us were capable of winning the race, and the other four could easily defend the jersey. US racing will always have a special place in my heart, but this is just absolutely incredible.”

Langley’s teammates controlled the field in order to protect the 26-year-old’s 27 second lead ahead of Wolfpack’s Austin Killips. A break had escaped after L39ion’s Sam Schneider attacked with 11 laps to go. A few riders joined her soon after, including Emily Marcolini (3T/Q+M), Anet Barrera (DNA Pro Cycling), and Florence Chardon (Fount Cycling). EF drove the chase and shut them down after only a few laps.

Florence Chardon (Fount) took a solo flyer with three laps to go, but would be shut down not long after.  Shayna Powless (L39ion of Los Angeles) began moving up, trying to position Skylar Schneider for the finale. L39ion would come up short, finishing their first stage race in nearly a year with Schneider’s victory on the opening stage.

DNA Pro Cycling picked up the reigns, eyeing the stage win for Coles-Lyster after coming up short in the previous weeks of racing at Redlands and Gila. The Canadian sprinter had been a heavy favorite in the crit at Gila before suffering a crash forcing her to abandon the race.

“This is a really tough course, even though I was 4th last year, I really struggled on this course,” Coles-Lyster said. “After my crash at Gila, I hit my head and experienced concussion symptoms for a few days. At first it was a little touch and go, if I would be able to do this or not.

“We were matched with L39ion in nearly every sprint last year, coming up short every time except for one. To start out this year with American stage races, and crit racing with a win, especially having a rough two weeks for me, it feels incredible.”

Austin Killips kept her lead in the mountains classification after a successful week of racing for ATX Wolfpack. InstaFund Pro Cycling’s Heidi Franz wrapped the North American series of stage races winning the points classification Sunday after her GC win at Redlands.

“I’m really pleased with how the week turned out. We had a podium on day 1, then on day 2 I won, then yesterday was tough but we were still up there,” Franz said. “We can be so proud of how we raced the North American stage races this year; we showed up as a team and honored those races. I didn’t expect it to go this way. I’m really excited for what we have next – I’ll be racing the Unbound 200, and then preparing for US Nationals.”

Stage 4 results here.