Joe Martin Stage Race: Wildlife Generation goes two for two at Mt. Sequoyah

Friday's win went to Noah Granigan, while Jonathan Clarke maintains the GC lead.

Photo: Alex Roszko

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Noah Granigan crossed the line atop Mt. Sequoyah to finish two for two for Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling at the Joe Martin Stage Race on Friday.

It was the second stage win for the North American squad in as many days, and points he gained on the line moved him into the lead of the points classification, ahead of his teammate and current GC leader, Jonathan Clarke. The Mexican National Champion Eder Frayre (L39ion of Los Angeles) was just behind in second, ahead of Tyler Stites (Project Echelon) in third.

Clarke was also part of the front group that had escaped within the final kilometers, to retain a 21-second lead in the GC ahead of Granigan, and 29-seconds ahead of Stites.

Read also: Skylar Schneider and Jonathan Clarke win opening stage of Walmart Joe Martin Stage Race

“This shows how strong our team is, having numbers at the finish, and setting up for the sprint,” Granigan said after his victory. “It couldn’t have gone any better, two wins, Johnny kept the yellow jersey. We haven’t lost, so we really can’t complain too much.”

After a slow start to the season, Wildlife Generation raced in Romania and at the Tour of Turkey where Granigan earned the KOM polka-dot jersey in a race that had several WorldTour teams. Racing at Joe Martin has been the first time racing with a full squad back home since the pandemic began.

“It’s tough to watch the live stream of all these races that we’ve done over the years,” Granigan said. “But, we’ve had an incredible schedule doing Tour of Turkey against some of the world’s best. To come back to the States and be able to back that up just shows how strong the whole team is from top to bottom. I’m happy to be racing in America again, and even better to be winning.”

The second day of racing delivered a 103.7-mile course with over 6400 feet of climbing. The riders faced strong winds once again, that turned to a crosswind mid-stage. Racing was on, straight from kilometer zero, with the field carefully controlling any attempt at a break. It took the crosswinds to split up the field as one by one, riders were dropping off the back, struggling to keep the pace. This included the Best Young Rider, Ethan Sittlington (Toronto Hustle), who would end up abandoning.

Bryan Gomez (Best Buddies) finally escaped in a solo break about 30km into the stage. After gaining over a 3-minute gap, the Colombian sprinter decided to sit up and head back to the field.

Soon after the first intermediate sprint, another break managed to escape, this time with four riders including the KOM leader, George Jackson of NZ Cycling Project. He won the first KOM, increasing his lead in the classification. His teammate, Josh Burnett, now leads the Best Young Rider classification.

“It was definitely the plan to get into the move,” Jackson said. “It was much windier than we thought, but coming from New Zealand we’re pretty used to that. We’re definitely not used to the heat and struggling a bit. The plan was to come here to just go straight away for any of the jerseys. It’s so cool to get overseas again, it’s been a long time.”

Full results here. 

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