Oakland, CA - The OUCH Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis will send its four-man southeast crit squad to Arkansas to meet up with half the roster that just finished the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico for the Joe Martin Stage Race, beginning Thursday.

Karl Menzies, Andrew Pinfold, John Murphy and Bobby Lea produced consistent results during the nine-day, seven race barnstorm of the Southeast criteriums last week. Menzies took the win at the Sunny King Criterium last Saturday, with Murphy and Pinfold taking 3rd and 4th in the same race. Menzies also took 2nd place at the Beaufort Criterium. Pinfold posted a pair of 3rd places - at Spartanburg and Sandy Springs - while Lea proved to be the team's workhorse covering moves and riding tempo at the front for a number of races.

"By the end of the week, those four guys were working really well together," team directeur sportif Mike Tamayo said. "Those boys are riding really well. Joe Martin is the type of race that if you're a good sprinter, who can also put in a good time trial in the opening stage and get over some of the climbs, you can get some good results here. Pinner and Karl are both guys who are well suited for this race."

Of course, OUCH Presented by Maxxis also brings returning champion Rory Sutherland, who began his march toward the 2008 NRC Individual Points Championship at this race last year.

Sutherland comes off a solid Gila performance that included a 3rd place on the race's second stage. He is joined by stage race specialists Floyd Landis, Pat McCarty and team captain Tim Johnson.

Joe Martin kicks off Thursday with a 2.5-mile uphill time trial.

Lea takes the place of Cam Evans on the Joe Martin roster. Evans was hurt in a crash on the final stage of Gila. He sustained facial lacerations but no broken bones. He is currently back home in Vancouver recovering from his injuries.

OUCH Presented by Maxxis for the Joe Martin Stage Race, May 7-10:

Tim Johnson, USA
Floyd Landis, USA
Bobby Lea, USA
Pat McCarty, USA
Karl Menzies, TAS
John Murphy, USA
Andrew Pinfold, CAN
Rory Sutherland, AUS

Photo: Jonathan Devich