Cycling News

After 46 years, Joe Martin Stage Race cancelled for 2024

After 46 years, Joe Martin Stage Race cancelled for 2024

On Thursday, the organizers of one of the longest-running events in the U.S, the Joe Martin Stage Race, will not be happening this year. Instead, it has been postponed until 2025.

Race director Bruce Dunn said that after 46 years of amateur stage racing, 21 years on the USA Cycling professional calendar and nine years on the UCI international calendar they have been forced to make the decision to cancel the 2024 event. Dunn said this was due to the rising costs of producing a multi-day stage race, “coupled with limited corporate and stakeholder sponsorship and funding.”

The annual event takes place in Arkansas.

A UCI stage race for almost a decade

In 2013, the JMSR applied to be on the UCI calendar. Over time, the event drew participants from 27 different countries, with teams coming from 10 different nations.

Many riders that went on to race on the WorldTour, Olympics or world championships have race the Joe Martin Stage race. American Neilson Powless won the event in 2016, and would go on to wear the polka dot jersey in 2023 Tour de France 12 stages.

Back for 2025?

Although it’s not happening this year, Dunn is hopeful to reboot it for 2025.

“We are committed to finding future sponsors for the professional UCI stage race. And to bringing it back in 2025 bigger and better. We have 14 months to plan for 2025. So, we will be working tirelessly to secure a top-tier line-up of sponsors,” he said.

Dunn added that the race would not have been possible over the years without the sponsors, volunteers and others within the Fayetteville community who have done so much. “I look forward to continuing in partnership with them in the future.” Dunn added. “The Joe Martin Stage Race was our first event and started our career in event production. We have literally been bringing the world of professional cycling to Arkansas for over two decades. And the pathway to the Olympics, World Championships and the World Tour Teams and events such as the Tour de France have included the Joe Martin Stage Race.”

Bad news for North American UCI calendar

The cancellation of the event is a big blow for UCI events in North America. Now there are only two stage races left–the Tour of the Gila, and the Tour de Beauce.

In 2023, Riley Sheehan, winner of Paris-Tours, won the event, with Lauren Stephens (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB taking the women’s race. The 2023 event also had the largest overall professional field and the women’s field in its history.

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…