May 14, 2005 (Fayetteville, Ark.) – The second of two stages of the Joe Martin Stage race was run this morning with race leader Lyne Gaggioli (Monex) barely recovered from her solo ride yesterday evening that gave her the lead. Quark with six riders all finishing in the main group yesterday had many weapons to use and use them they did. The Quark girls launched repeated attacks and forced the lone Monex rider to defend on her own. Time and time again Gaggioli covered these attacks by Quark and when Quark wasn’t attacking, Colavita took up the aggression. It appeared that Gaggioli was more like the Iraqi resistance than a bike rider but her efforts against overwhelming force eventually allowed Quark rider Candice Blickem to get away at the 25-mile mark.
The only rider to give chase was Ford-Basis rider Kele Husler who stayed in no women’s land, between Blickem and the chasing group, where she would stay until absorbed at the end. Blickem built a lead of 4:00 minutes which made her the leader on the road but, the Colavita and Victory Brewing teams having missed the break wanted to salvage their day and went to the front to bring the gap down. After 49 miles in front and with just 1 mile to go in the race Blickem was spotted by the peloton. Coming into the flat slightly down hill finish with the pack closing fast, it appeared that she just might hang on but was passed by a few of the sprinters with five feet to go.
When the dust of the exciting finish had settled, Ford-Basis rider Nicole Freeman had nipped Quarks Laura Van Gilder at the line. Blickem held on for a top ten finish. Riders now have a short rest before they are once again on their bikes for this evening’s uphill time trail.
Joe Martin – Stage 2
1 Nicole Freeman Ford-Basis
2 Laura Van Gilder Quark Cycling Team