Rally Cycling finished the Joe Martin Stage Race on a high, with Heidi Franz taking home third overall while Olympic bronze medalist Emma White sprinted to second in the race’s finale. Franz also claimed a rare feat, successfully finishing inside the top-seven places on all four stages of the UCI-ranked event.
“It feels so good,” said Franz. “I definitely had to take stock of what was achievable today and I’m just really proud to be on my first UCI overall podium. It was so unexpected, and I think that’s the best part.”
The four-day race got off to an exciting start on Thursday when Franz finished second from a select group of overall favorites and moved into the lead in the QOM competition. She then followed it up with a sixth-place finish on Mount Sequoyah alongside teammate Sara Poidevin and led the team in fifth on the stage 3 uphill time trial.
Franz delivered consistent results but she said it wouldn’t have been possible without her teammates.
“The team was awesome this week,” added Franz. “Everyone stepped up and worked so hard. The team really helped me navigate the unfamiliar position of being in the GC battle and reminded me to simply race my bike and enjoy it.”
Heading into the final stage, a hilly and technical criterium in downtown Fayetteville, Franz was tied on time with Clara Honsinger (Team TIBCO – SVB) for the final spot on the overall podium.
“The plan was to protect Heidi at all costs and then try to win the stage,” said White. “The goal was for everyone to empty the tank and we definitely achieved that.”
After a last-ditch effort to break clear by Franz was reeled in, it set up an uphill sprint duel.
“I surprised myself with how much work I was able to do during the race and still give it a kick at the end,” said White. “I wasn’t sure what my fitness would be like but my main priority was to help the team. I’m really happy with the way the team rode in helping Heidi.”
With the recent cancellation of the Tour of the Gila at the end of September, the riders will head home to prepare for the Sea Otter Classic in October.
Final overall standings
1 SCHNEIDER Skylar L39ION of Los Angeles 6:39:58
2 EWERS Veronica Team TIBCO – SVB 0:13
3 FRANZ Heidi Rally Cycling Women 0:39
4 HONSINGER Clara Team TIBCO – SVB 0:42
5 BARRERA Anet 3T/ Q+M Cycling 1:55
6 LANGLEY Emma Team TIBCO – SVB 2:25
7 RUNNELS Samantha 3T/ Q+M Cycling 5:11
8 CLEVENGER Erica DNA Pro Cycling 5:32
9 COLES-LYSTER Maggie DNA Pro Cycling 5:33
10 HENRY Holly InstaFund La Prima 5:49
Stage 4 results
1 SCHNEIDER Skylar L39ION of Los Angeles 0:50:45
2 EWERS Veronica Team TIBCO – SVB ”
3 WHITE Emma Rally Cycling Women ”
4 COLES-LYSTER Maggie DNA Pro Cycling 1 0:01
5 RUNNELS Samantha 3T/ Q+M Cycling 0:02
6 LANGDON Rachel InstaFund La Prima ”
7 FRANZ Heidi Rally Cycling Women 0:03
8 HENRY Holly InstaFund La Prima ”
9 HONSINGER Clara Team TIBCO – SVB ”
10 RAUWERDA Kaitlyn Team-Desjardins Ford 0:08