(photo credit: Wil Matthews)
Team TIBCO is in Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Joe Martin Stage Race. We’re here with a strong team of eight riders: Claudia Hausler, Shelley Olds, Rushlee Buchanan, Amanda Miller, Jasmin Glaesser, Jo Kiesanowski, Chantal Blaak and me. We’re targeting both stage wins and the overall victory, and we got off to a solid start in the opening stage yesterday.
Last year, Amanda Miller won the uphill time trial, and we headed into stage two with the jersey. We’re in the same boat this year. Claudia covered the 2.5 mile effort in 9:27, six seconds quicker than Ali Powers (NOW), to take the win. We have six riders in the top 20, all within one minute of Claudia’s time, so we have a lot of cards to play tomorrow.
It looks like we’re in for a cold wet day for the first road stage. The middle of the 64-mile road race features a fairly significantly climb followed by a lengthy descent. Typically, the climb splits up the peloton, and we regroup on the descent. I suspect the wet roads may change this. People won’t want to take as many risks in the rain, and this could work in our favor. If it’s dry, then it will really depend on how hard the peloton races and we want hard!
The finish of today’s stage is tricky and hard. Riders will need to be in good position going into the last couple km. And those riders with big power will do well at the finish. We’ll have our work cut for us to keep Claudia in the right position at all times today so she doesn’t get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. With only six seconds separating her and Powers, we will have to put her in the perfect position for the finish to prevent Powers from gaining valuable seconds on the line. Claudia is riding super strong right now though, so we are in good shape to keep the jersey.