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April 16th,  2018

Haidet ninth on stage 2, Hoehn tenth in time trial


In between Mario Kart tournaments, coffee shop rides in freezing weather and intermittent lightning storms, the Aevolo Pro Cycling team lined up to race their first UCI race of the spring: Joe Martin Stage Race.


Over the four days of racing, the team represented the green and gold colors in breakaways on the first stage and final, as well as claiming several top 15 placings. Lance Haidet was the team’s overall top finisher at 19th place.


“I thought the team did better than it looks on paper,” Aevolo Team Director Michael Creed said. “We had some bad luck mixed with good form and that doesn’t necessarily translate on the results.”


Day by day


Perhaps the toughest stage was the first – 182 kilometers on a hilly course punctuated with a three-kilometer uphill finish to Mount Sequoyah. After the starting flag went down, it took about an hour before a break of 18 riders solidified, including Laurent Gervais and Alex Hoehn.


‘Things got messy when the break started to attack each other,” Creed said. “Laurent got dropped from mistake, he was counter attacked after being forced to close a gap. Alex did the best he could, but with it all said and done he got caught with two kilometers to go.”


The next day, despite the cold, blustery wet weather, Aevolo went to the start line ready to animate the road race yet again.


“We went into the day stressing the importance of the boys learning race craft and getting someone in the move, even if it’s an early “no hope” move,” Creed said. “Unfortunately, they missed a group of 10. Holowesko-Citadel kept the race close to protect their yellow jersey so there was no need for us to go to the front and help.”


Despite the busy schedule, the team still found quiet time to work on school work, as well as memorize each other’s birthdate and birthplace, an impromptu competition first conquered by recent birthday boy Tyler Stites.

The peloton reformed in the finishing kilometers and some of the Aevolo riders did well positioning themselves in the first 10 riders around a critical turn with 1.5 kilometers to go.


Tyler Stites held his position to finish in ninth place, while Haidet and Denzel Stephenson finished 11th and 12th respectively.


With the road races wrapped up, a three-mile uphill time trial met the riders the following day. Starting in Devil’s Den State Park, the course averaged five percent and had several switchbacks. Hoehn had a stellar ride finishing tenth place, just 15 seconds behind the winner.


The final stage was a hilly, technical 30 lap criterium in downtown Fayetteville. The break of the day contained eight riders, including Hoehn. Despite gaining about 30 seconds on the 1.2-mile course, the leaders were caught with four laps to go. Haidet was the best Aevolo finisher, sprinting across the line in 12th.


The team’s next race is the 2.2 UCI Tour of the Gila, starting April 18-22.

All Photos by Casey B. Gibson

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