Fayetteville, AR - A crash-marred final stage of the Joe Martin Stage Race saw a minor re-shuffling of the general classification for Team TIBCO/To the Top. Alison Starnes, 3rd overall coming into the final day, got caught up behind a crash and burned a few too many matches chasing and despite regaining the front group, lost contact toward the end of the race on the hard, hilly course. However, Amanda Miller took 5th on the stage and jumped up from 6th to the final overall spot in 3rd place.
Meredith Miller, who came into the stage in 4th overall, was poised to make a run at the podium after a late attack by Alexis Rhodes (Team Vera Bradley) took the stage win. However, she was taken down coming out of the second to last corner heading toward the uphill sprint by one of the other two riders she was with.
Instead of being given the same finishing time as the riders who went on to finish 2nd through 5th, including her teammate Amanda Miller, she was given a gap of 0:12 seconds behind the winner. She still had enough of a lead coming in to hold 4th overall, though it did allow her teammate to jump ahead on the overall.
"It was a rather crazy finish today," said team directeur sportif Emma Rickards. "The team rode out of their skin this weekend. Everyone did whatever was asked of them. We came into this last stage wanting to maintain our podium position in the overall. We did that. Perhaps not in the way we intended, but we did."
With Starnes dropping down in the overall classification, it also meant that Team TIBCO/To the Top dropped a place to second in the team overall competition, which was won by Team Vera Bradley, whose Alison Powers won the overall title ahead of Kathryn Curi Mattis (Webcor).
Photo: Larry Rosa