The same six riders from the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team who captured the team title at the Redlands Bicycle Classic earlier this month will line up Thursday for the Joe Martin Stage Race.
An All-American line-up of Jonny Brown, Geoffrey Curran, Phil O'Donnell, Justin Oien, Neilson Powless and Chad Young will compete in the four-day USA Cycling Pro Road Tour event in Fayetteville, Ark. A short, uphill time trial and two road races precede a final criterium on Sunday.
Axeon Hagens Berman Sport Director Jeff Louder said the race is much different than the Redlands Bicycle Classic, where Powless was runner-up and Curran finished fourth.
"For starters, we have a prologue that will set the scene for the rest of the race," Louder said. "So it is not quite as wide open throughout the race. That suits us as everyone is time trialing and climbing well."
Powless has finished on the podium of both stage races he has competed in this season. He was runner-up at the Redlands Bicycle Classic after winning the Stage 3 time trial and finished third overall at the San Dimas Stage Race. O'Donnell is coming off a top 10 finish Sunday at the USA Cycling Professional Criterium Championships. Brown, who celebrates his 19th birthday this week, finished fourth in the circuit race at the Sea Otter Classic last weekend.
"Everyone is super excited for this race," Brown said. "The team rode exceptionally well at Redlands, so we are ready to show what we can do at Joe Martin as well. I think everyone has been having the time of their life this season. We all get along super well, so it has been fun racing and hanging out together."
Download the Axeon Hagens Berman race information sheet (PDF with roster, bios and statistics): http://bit.ly/1NBMiKd
Joe Martin Stage Race roster (April 21-24): Riders: Jonny Brown (USA), Geoffrey Curran (USA), Phil O'Donnell (USA), Justin Oien (USA), Neilson Powless (USA), Chad Young (USA). Sport Director: Jeff Louder (USA).