Fayetteville, Ark. - The final day of the Joe Martin Stage Race couldn't be better suited to defending Alison Powers' overall lead, according to Team Type 1 women's Team Director Jack Seehafer.
Powers takes a four-second lead over Katheryn Curi Mattis (Webcor Builders) into the hour-long criterium that caps the four-day National Racing Calendar event that is also the second race of the Women's Prestige Cycling Series.
"The criterium really fits our ability well because it's more of a tactical course," Seehafer said. "We'll be very aggressive and set a hard tempo at the front. Our goal is also to go for the stage win and see if we can employ what we learned at the criterium series."
Team Type 1 established itself as one of the top criterium racing squads by winning the team competition at the recent USA CRITS Speed Week series. Kori Seehafer also won the Lap Leader's jersey and Samantha Schneider earned the Best Young Rider title in the series of six races in South Carolina and Georgia.
Sunday's criterium in Fayetteville is hardly a flat, four-corner affair. The 1.2-mile (2.0 km) course starts and finishes on a steep uphill, making it more of a race of attrition.
"I love the criterium here," Powers said. "It's technical and challenging and those are the courses where I race the best."
In the men's race, Team Type 1 was instrumental in fueling a breakaway that threatened to remove Rory Sutherland (OUCH presented by Maxxis) from the race lead. Darren Lill (eighth in the overall standings) and Matt Wilson were part of a seven-rider breakaway that eventually grew to 10 (and included their teammate, Shawn Milne).
But cooperation by teams not represented in the breakaway reeled in the escapees with 3.1 miles (5 km) to go. Milne hung on to finish a team-best fourth as Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light) won his second straight stage.