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Like other U.S. pro races, the Joe Martin Stage Race was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, organizers held a virtual edition of the event on Zwift from June 19-21, which was organized by Project Echelon.
And as promised, the general classification, sprint competition, and climbing competition winners were awarded real-world jerseys, and invitations to wear them in the next Joe Martin Stage Race on real-world roads.
And just as in real-world racing, there were some challenges and controversy surrounding the results.
Racers were asked to observe a one-minute moment of silence after the banner dropped for stage 2, out of respect for the current Black Lives Matter movement and responding to the need to address inequities in our society. Then, the virtual event then honored those who have lost their lives in the COVID-19 pandemic with a one-kilometer neutral rollout.
While these requests were communicated and followed by the men’s field, there was some confusion in the women’s field with regards to the neutral rollout.
Project Echelon’s Eric Hill, acting as race director indicated that, “We understand that there were some communication issues with the neutral roll-out [on stage 2], which resulted in several riders getting dropped very early in the stage and not having the opportunity to race.”
To further complicate the virtual racing format, some racers confused the KOM/QOM arch for the stage finish line, which came after the climbing competition marker.
Hill reiterated instructions provided during the pre-race manager’s meeting.
“We also learned that placing a finish line on Zwift is not 100 percent perfect as the finish was just beyond the KOM marker, which we discussed as a possibility in the managers meeting,” Hill said. “Just know, the [distance elapsed] ticker is ALWAYS correct.”
To ensure fairness for the final stage, race officials consulted with team managers and it was decided that the stage 2 results and placings would be honored. However, times would be counted in the GC results; all riders retained the same time gaps from stage 1, and all completing stage 2 would be permitted to start stage 3. The sprint and QOM competition results remained unchanged.
Just as in real-world racing, those who did not make the cut-off would not be permitted to start the following day.
Hill stressed that the Virtual Joe Martin Stage Race is a, “100 percent volunteer effort…[and that] we still accomplished our mission of growing the Project Echelon mission to educate, equip and empower veterans through physical activity, while bringing together some of the best teams athletes from across the world together to connect and compete at a high level and give life to cycling in North America during a time of no racing.”
And Hill was quick to recognize the Joe Martin Stage Race hosts and Experience Fayetteville for licensing the race name.
“I want to thank Bruce Dunn and the Experience Fayetteville team for allowing us to put on this event in their name, which only added to the caliber of racing and publicity brought to the event. We look forward to the IRL Joe Martin Stage Race and opportunity to visit and engage with the Fayetteville community in the future!”
General Classification women
- Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB) 3:35:32
- Andrea Ramirez (Agolico), at :44
- Kristen Faulkner (Tibco-SVB), at :55
General Classification men
- Jordan Cheyne (Elevate-Webiplex), 3:17:20
- Dan Fleeman (Saris-The Pros Closet), at :03
- Eder Frayre (L39ION), at :05
- Jacquie Godbe (Vision), 46 points
- Selma Trommer (Velocity Vixen), 22
- Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB), 19 points
- Zac Herrod (E-Stellas), 47 points
- Ben Millar (Tor2KIKalas), 26 points
- Eder Frayre (L39ION), 20 points
Sprint competition women
- Christie Tracy (Infinite p/b Saris), 21 points
- Selma Trommer (Velocity Vixen), 15 points
- Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB), 12 points
Sprint competition men
- Bill Longwell (Otterhaus K&F Construction), 29 points
- Conor White (Hamilton United), 21 points
- Dan Netzer (Vision), 12 points
Stage 1 women
- Sarah Gigante (Tibco-SVB), 15:14
- Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB), at :03
- Courtney Nelson (Twenty20-Sho-Air), at :15
Stage 1 men
- Mike Mottram (Vitus Pro Cycling) 13:44
- Jordan Cheyne (Elevate-Webiplex), at :03
- Dan Fleeman (Saris – The Pros Closet), at :04
Stage 2 women
- Jacquie Godbe (Vision), 1:48:29
- Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB), at :00.54
- Daniela Istrate (Revo), at :00.84
Stage 2 men
- Tyler Williams (L39ION), 1:39:50
- Ryan Larson (Saris – The Pros Closet), s.t.
- Christopher McGlinchey (Vitus Pro Cycling), s.t.
Stage 3 women
- Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB), 1:31:46
- Andrea Ramirez (Agolico), at :15
- Katheryn Curi (Amy D Foundation), at :39
Stage 3 men
- Zac Herrod (E-Stellas), 1:23:41
- Caleb Carl (Finesse), s.t.
- Alex Fraser-Martin (Red Truck Racing), at :01