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Ellsay second after tight GC battle at the Joe Martin Stage Race

A strong time trial and aggressive racing over the four stages sees 22-year-old earn second place overall.

After four stages of racing at the Joe Martin Stage Race in Arkansas (April 21 to 24), Nigel Ellsay of Silber Pro Cycling finished second overall in the general classification. The overall win went to Neilson Powless of the Axeon Hagens-Berman. Silber who are fresh off a victory at Redlands with Matteo Dal-Cin, also finished second in the team classification.

>> We caught up with Dal-Cin who is taking a break before the Tour of the Gila

Ellsay earned himself a second place finish in the opening uphill time trial, three-seconds behind stage winner Javier Acevedo (Team Jamis). The 4.6-km effort set the 22-year-old up well for a big for the overall. The close race set the stage for a close battle for time bonus over the next three stages.

“The race started off with an eye opening TT for me where I capitalized on my winter spent riding my TT bike,” said Ellsay. “I finished 3 seconds from yellow. I spent the rest of the weekend jockeying for GC position. My teammates rode like rock stars to help me all week.”

In the Stage 2 road race, Australian Michael Rice of Garneau-Quebecor finished fourth with Benjamin Perry (Silber) and Ellsay in seventh and eighth. Perry, sitting in 10th overall was well positioned to make Jamis work for their GC placement. In Stage 3, Ellsay and Perry both earned time-bonuses on offer in the sprints and their teammate Kristofer Dahl came in fifth. The stage was set for a close GC battle in the final stage, an 85-minute criterium with many time bonuses on offer.

Aggressive racing by Axeon, Silber and Holowensko-Citadel saw a shuffle in the GC with Powless earning 3 seconds in intermediate sprints and second on the stage to nap a total of 11 seconds, enough to move the young American in first overall. In Sunday’s crit, Ellsay finished fourth, one-second behind stage winner Travis McCabe (Holowesko-Citadel) but not enough to for the time bonuses needed to move up in the GC. Rice and Perry were seventh and eighth respectively.

Perry explained after the race that the UCI points earned by the team at JMSR would add to Canada’s rider quote for the world championships that take place in Qatar in October and Silber’s placing the in UCI American Tour.

In the U23 general classification, Ellsay was second with Perry in fourth. Neilson Powless who delivered an impressive time trial at Redlands just a few weeks ago took the overall win. Ryan Roth returned to racing after 6-weeks out with tendonitis.

American Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) won the women’s race.