After a breakthrough performance by the team and Matteo Dal-Cin at the Redlands Bicycle Classic two weeks ago, the #silberbullet was on-point again at the Joe Martin Stage Race in Arkansas. This time Nigel Ellsay delivered an oh soooo close 2nd place overall after four stages of tough racing. The win went to Neilson Powless of the Axeon Hagens-Berman team. Silber continues to show overall depth as a team, moving from strength to strength as riders move into leadership roles and the team – once again – notched-up a top spot, 2nd, in the teams classification at Joe Martin.
Nigel setup his General Classification (GC) bid placing 2nd in the opening 4.6km uphill time trial. That time trial was won by Team Jamis‘s Janier Acevedo – creating another dramatic GC battle between the two teams.
With just 3 seconds separating Nigel and ‘Ace’ along with a cluster of riders within 30 seconds, the ensuing stages came down to a hunt for time bonuses amongst teams like: Silber, Jamis, Holowesko-Citadel, UHC, Lupus and Axeon. DS Gord Fraser looked to play Ben Perry against a strong Jamis team in the road stages. Ben was sitting just 36 seconds down on GC in 10th place after a chaotic finish to stage 2, making him the team’s ‘tactical’ card to put pressure on Jamis and Acevedo.
Jamis were exceptional with their control – receiving assistance in part from team UHC who had an interest in sprint finishes for their team of fast men: Murphy and Alzate, who went 1-2 in stage 3. Ben and Nigel, however, nabbed precious seconds during time bonus sprints on this stage setting up the final show down in today’s tricky 85 minute criterium.
Wow, what a nail-biter. Aggressive and dynamic racing from youth focused teams; Axeon, Holowesko and the #Silberbullets saw the GC leadership swap from Acevedo to Nigel during the race’s mid-point. Powless was equally aggressive throughout the stage nabbing 3 seconds of intermediate bonuses. Finishing 2nd on the stage, Powless netted an additional 6 seconds to win the overall race by 4 seconds for Axeon. Holowesko-Citadel’s Travis McCabe won the final stage. Nigel’s intermediate sprint bonuses kept him on top of Acevedo, but 4th on the stage was one elusive spot outside the time bonuses he needed to win the race outright. An amazing performance by two young rising riders – as the two team’s swap podium steps from Redlands. #proveit indeed, the young-guns are set to do just that on what looks to be a super exciting season of domestic racing.
This 2nd place finish is another breakthrough for our young team and is a career best performance for Nigel in the re-shaped NRC – now the Pro Road Tour. The Joe Martin Stage Race is also part of the important UCI America Tour. UCI races are crucial for our U23 riders to score important qualification points in the hunt to put Silber riders front and centre again for Canada at the World Cycling Championships which take place in Qatar during October this year.
As was the case in Redlands the entire team was on-point at Joe Martin and Nigel had incredible support from Émile, Nicolas, Mike, Kris, Ryan and Ben. While Nigel stood on the podiums this week, Kris, Ben and Mike brought in results as well, taking the team’s podium tally up to 18 and top 10 finishes to 42 for the season. Ryan Roth served as the team’s savvy road captain in his first race with after tendonitis set-back his training and preparation by six weeks.
Stay tuned for an in-depth feature with Nigel later this week, where he’ll disect this poetic turn of events from last year’s Joe Martin race.
Until then, here’s the team in their own words:
Big weekend for the team and myself at the Joe Martin Stage Race. The race started off with an eye opening TT for me where I capitalized on my winter spent riding my TT bike. I finished 3 seconds from yellow. I spent the rest of the weekend jockeying for GC position. My teammates rode like rockstars to help me all week. We’re all a little disappointed to come up four seconds short at the finish. However I’ll be forever grateful for their efforts. – Nigel Ellsay, after stage 4
Hectic day to say the least on stage two of Joe Martin Stage Race. A large breakaway of 25 or so riders got away with our own Nicolas Masbourian in the mix. Nic sat on the break most of the day as it was not in our best interest to see the move go to the line.
Once the break got up to six minutes with 70km to go Silber Pro Cycling’s Ryan Roth, Émile Jean and Michael Le Rossignol went to the front. Thanks to strong work from the trio and a few other teams, they brought most of the break back before the finish with only two riders from the break staying away. continue reading… – Nigel Ellsay, on stage 2
As always it was a pleasure to represent Canada with my sleek Giordana Cycling National Crit Champion skin suit.
We managed to take the yellow jersey off the back of Jamis, for about 20min, but Powless was too good and came from what seemed like an insurmountable distance back to claim it off us in the final sprint thanks to his savvy time bonus sniffing.
A crash just inside a lap to go gapped Nigel. He just managed to get back in time to sprint from a super small group of survivors, but didn’t have enough legs to get by Powless to keep his yellow. I was involved in the crash as well and sprinted from the group behind for 8th place, bumping me to 10th overall (and in the UCI points baby!!)
Nigel and I scored important UCI points for Canada’s World Championships rider quota and Silber’s placing in the UCI Americas Tour.
Now we go to altitude on Mt. Lemmon and then off to Gila! – Ben Perry, on stage 4 and final GC
What a back and forth battle! Congrats to Neilson Powless and I can’t say enough about Nigel’s leadership and willingness to fight all week. Silber Pro Cycling is on a roll and it feels good to be part of the future of cycling. – Scott McFarlane, Team Principal & GM
& the Joe Martin buzz on social
Il y aura une chaude lutte cette après à @JoeMartinStageRace entre Silber et Jamis! 1 seconde sépare Nigel Ellsay… https://t.co/DDpDB8XdSa
— Elliott Doyle (@doylelliott) April 24, 2016
While we love our Giordana team kit, we’ll give it up to wear a leader’s jersey 😉
— Gord Fraser (@GordFraser) April 22, 2016
— Argon 18 (@Argon18bike) April 22, 2016
German coach and power analyst Philipp Diegner posted very interesting analytics for data-geeks throughout Joe Martin:
#JoeMartinStageRace ST01 ITT analyzed feat.
— Philipp Diegner (@PDiegner) April 22, 2016
Nigel and the team setup their bid for the general classification win hunting time bonuses in stages 2 & 3:
— Gord Fraser (@GordFraser) April 23, 2016
— Gord Fraser (@GordFraser) April 24, 2016