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Joe Martin Stage Race cancels 2024 UCI stage race with plans to reboot next year

The UCI 2.2 Joe Martin Stage Race, scheduled for May 24-27, has been cancelled for 2024 as organisers work to secure funding over the next year to orchestrate the 47th edition of the stage race for 2025. 

“After 46 years of amateur stage racing, 21 years on the USA Cycling professional calendar and nine years on the UCI international calendar, we’ve had to make the very difficult decision to cancel the 2024 event due to the rising costs of producing a multi-day stage race coupled with limited corporate and stakeholder sponsorship and funding,” Race Director Bruce Dunn said in a press release Thursday.

“We are committed to finding future sponsors for the professional UCI stage race and to bringing it back in 2025 bigger and better. With 14 months to plan for 2025, we will be working tirelessly to secure a top-tier line-up of sponsors.”

Last year Miguel Ángel López (Team Medellín-EPM) held the overall men’s lead until the fourth and final day of racing, when Riley Sheehan (Denver Disruptors) overtook him with a victory on the criterium stage in downtown Fayetteville. 

On the women’s side, Lauren Stephens (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB) used her win on the stage 2 road race to move into the leader’s jersey and held on for a second GC title at the event in her career.

The removal of the men’s and women’s UCI stage race leaves a major hole in the North American road racing calendar, now with only two multi-day events remaining at the 2.2 level – the Tour of the Gila, April 24-28, and Tour de Beauce, June 12-16.

One-day UCI races include the new Gran Premio New York City on May 19, Maryland Cycling Classic on September 1, GP Cycliste de Québec on September 13 and GP Cycliste de Montréal two days later. Of those races, only Tour of the Gila includes both men’s and women’s competitions.

The race began as the Fayetteville Spring Classic in 1978, with Joe Martin serving as the race director for the first decade. The race was renamed in his honor in 1989 after Martin died of cancer. Dunn’s sports event management company, All Sports Productions, has operated the the event since 2003, when professional categories were added to the thriving amateur stage race, and upgraded to the UCI calendar 10 years later.

This is the second time the event has been cancelled, previously deferring from 2020 for a year due to the coronavirus global pandemic.

“The Joe Martin Stage Race was our first event and started our career in event production,” Dunn said about the start for All Sports Productions, which also produces Highlands Gravel Classic, Fayetteville Half Marathon and a long list of other cycling and running events. 

“We have literally been bringing the world of professional cycling to Arkansas for over two decades and the pathway to the Olympics, World Championships and the World Tour Teams and events such as the Tour de France have included the Joe Martin Stage Race.”

Among the overall winners across the long history of the Joe Martin Stage Race include Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) in 2016 when he raced for Axeon Hagens Berman and Chloé Dygert (Canyon-SRAM) in 2019 when she raced for Sho-Air TWENTY20. 

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
AUTHOR: jackie.tyson@futurenet.com
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