Fayetteville, Arkansas – Neilson Powless and Geoffrey Curran of the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in Thursday afternoon's opening time trial at the Joe Martin Stage Race.
On the mostly uphill 4.8-kilometer course in Devil's Den State Park, Powless was 11 seconds behind stage winner Janier Acevedo (Team Jamis). Curran was 20 seconds back in the Pro Road Tour race.
Nigel Ellsay (Silber Pro Cycling) took runner-up honors and Kyle Murphy (Team Jamis) was third, both three seconds off the winning time.
"I have been feeling really strong since Redlands and I was happy that the time gaps were minimal," Powless said. "Having two riders in the top 10 in the GC (general classification) again will put us in a good spot for the rest of the event."
Curran said his performance matched up to his expectations.
"The course goes straight up the hill for the first 3.5 km, then descends and flattens out in the closing 1.5 kilometers," he said. "I knew I needed to hit it hard on the climb and limit my losses to the pure climbers, but still have enough to put down a lot of power on the flatter finish. I went out with that plan and it worked pretty well."
Axeon Hagens Berman's other four riders were: Philip O'Donnell (26th, at 40 seconds), Chad Young (34th, at 45 seconds), Justin Oien (53rd, at 55 seconds) and Jonny Brown (106th, at 1:24).
The four-day race continues Friday with a 179.3-kilometer road race that starts and ends in Fayetteville. Saturday is another road race, followed by a criterium on Sunday.