• 2013/04/29 Optum p/b KBS' Haga Takes Joe Martin Overall - Numainville Claims Sprint Jersey
    • Optum p/b KBS' Haga Takes Joe Martin Overall - Numainville Claims Sprint Jersey Optum p/b KBS' Haga Takes Joe Martin Overall - Numainville Claims Sprint Jersey

      The weekend at Joe Martin wrapped up very successfully for the men and women of the Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies Pro Cycling Team. The 2nd stop on the National Racing Calendar came down to mere seconds in the overall, just as it had at the Redlands Classic. This time however, Chad Haga was on the top step of the podium reversing his fortunes with Kenda's Francisco Mancebo. Chad now joins his climbing pals in Silver City, NM. for the UCI 2.2 ranked Tour of the GIla, which begins on Wednesday.

      The Optum p/b KBS women claimed another podium on Sunday's final stage also, placing Joelle Numainville 3rd in the uphill drag to the line. She also steadily picked up points for the sprint competition throughout the race, helped by her 2nd place in stage 2 and victory in stage 3. Numainville locked up the sprint title in mid-race sprints on Sunday and then had enough left to finish 3rd on the stage as well as 4th Overall.

      Below are race reports of stages 3 and 4 from director's Eric Wohlberg and Rachel Heal. And check out the fantastic galleries up from Velonews below.

      Eric Wohlberg's Stage 3 Report:

      114 miles.
      Meat and potatoes of the stage was a tough, rolling 23 mile circuit which the riders tackled 4 times.The plan was to hold off riding the front as long as possible, let a manageable group get away and then tap it out.
      The problem was the GC was still very tight and there were pretty much 100 guys within 1 minute. Any move that got away would have to be pulled back before the finish. Eventually an 8 man moves goes 60 km in and we are riding hard behind it to hold them at 2 minutes. Our workers, Sherer, Friedman, Soladay, Young and Hanson turned themselves inside out or 70 + miles. The last time through the toughest part of the course we are assaulted hard. A move of 12 accelerated across the now 30 sec gap to the remnants (6 riders) of a very strong initial move. Having faith in his team, and calling out Mancebo, Haga plays a great hand of Texas Hold 'Em. Our workers made a valiant return to the main field and immediately started to ride and were faced with a huge task of pulling back a now 20 strong group that has rolled to a 1:45 advantage inside 40 km to go. Jesse Anthony tagged the move and was doing his best to dissuade the break by his presence and good GC position. With some help from Cash Call who missed the move, we rolled the gap down to 20 secs with 7 km to go, but the chase was starting to stall.

      was still not flinching.

      Our biggest rival, Mancebo was now starting to panic and launched a desperate bid to stay in the race and jumped across the gap, with Haga in tow. Both riders made it to the group of 18 and Anthony shuttles Chad into the last km. Jesse then sprints for a great top 5 result. Haga is on equal time and holds yellow.

      Do not play poker with Haga. He is a cool customer.

      Rachel Heal's Stage 3 Report:

      Great day for the team today, they worked perfectly together during the race and executed the plan for the finish virtually to perfection to come away with a great win.
      It was another wet day, but the team girls were fired up and ready to race hard. The first few miles were fairly sedate as riders got themselves warmed up, but as soon as we hit the circuits it was race on. After a few attacks and counters, NOW's Alexis Ryan went clear and we were happy to sit in and let Tibco chase. She stayed clear for a while, but with a gap never getting more than 30 seconds, it never looked like a dangerous move. After she was reeled back in, queue another flurry of attacks, and the elastic finally broke with Amber, Rushlee Buchanan (Tibco) and Kathryn Donovan (NOW) going clear. Amber was the best placed of the 3 on GC and so we were happy to let it roll, and when Tibco called Buchanan back to help with the chase, Amber and Donovan piled the pressure on further. The gap hovered at around a minute for the best part of 30 miles until they were finally caught with just 5km to go.
      The final 5 km was aggressive with attack after attack being launched, but nothing able to get clear and we were headed for a bunch sprint.
      With Brie providing a great leadout, Joelle timed her sprint to perfection taking both the stage win and the green jersey

      Eric Wohlberg's Stage 4 Race Report:
      Team was good today. Lots of action for the first 5 laps of the crit. Then a 4 Man move rollled, Huff, Stemper, Schmaltz and Bruno Langlois. Bruno was the high man on GC at 49 secs. We let the gap open to 45 secs quickly to discourage bridges and readied for tempo and responses to attacks. Mancebo tried several times, but Chad was always ready to cover and the guys just stayed together and resumed their work at the front of the group. Zirbel, Soladay and Jesse were particularly good, and the rest of the guys were solid. The break got caught inside 1 lap to go and Chad did a good job of not allowing gaps to open in the final sprint. Heado won the stage. Chad kept yellow. A truly well-deserved victory for him and the team.

      Rachel Heal's Stage 4 Race Report:

      Tough crit today for the final stage of Joe Martin. When the field split just a few laps into the race, the girls did a great job of placing Brie and Joëlle in the front group of 15 riders, The race was fast with lots of attacks and the field single file for much of the race. Once again Joelle and Brie worked well together at the finish, Brie helping to launch Joelle out if the final corner to secure 3rd place and the teams 3rd podium of the week. Joelle also picked up enough points at the intermediate sprints and the finish to take the green jersey. We now had to Silver City and join up with Jade, Janel, Lauren and Denise to take on Tour of the Gila.