In an exciting and cunning finish to the sprint, Tyler Stites (Project Echelon Racing) won the first stage of the 2023 Joe Martin Stage Race after driving 90 miles around Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The American surprised his breakaway rivals in the last corner to take victory ahead of Mexican Eder Frayer (L39ion Los Angeles) and Spanish Óscar Sevilla (Team Medellín-EPM).

“Yeah, there were a couple of attacks at the end. Sergio Henao closed one and I followed him. Everything came back together in the last meters. It was time to run into a headwind, downhill, so I came from behind and had a good sprint,” Stites said at the end. “It was tough on some of the climbs, but when we were rolling it wasn’t too bad. Just nice and stable and yes quite a rough day overall but it was fun. It will be difficult to defend tomorrow, but we will give it our all and, hopefully, we will take the yellow to the end, ”he commented to the accredited press.

The “Colombian beetles” played a notable role at the start of the Joe Martin Stage Race 20, as Miguel Ángel ‘Supermán’ López took over the jersey for the mountain awards. In addition, in the individual general Brayan Sánchez is sixth, ‘Supermán’ López is seventh and Sergio Henao ninth.

From the start of the first stage in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the riders of Team Medellín-EPM bet on being aggressive. The three aforementioned Beetles were part of a 10-rider breakaway that stayed away for 111 kilometers, and nine of them remained in the lead to fight in Fayetteville for the first leader’s jersey of the stage race that will have four days of competence.

Stites will wear the men’s yellow leader’s jersey for the second leg of the race this Friday, which includes a 182.4-kilometre course starting and finishing in Fayetteville. The successor to Australian Jonathan Clarke, champion of the last edition in 2022, will be known on Sunday in Arkansas.