February 17, 2014 – This week, Team SmartStop travels to the Dominican Republic to kick start the 2014 season at the Vuelta Independencia Nacional. The eight-day stage race begins on Thursday February 20th and goes through the 27th. The race offers the team a well-balanced stage race featuring an individual time trial and a mixture of hilly and sprint stages.
Director, Michael Creed, has selected a strong team to partake in the season opener with the hopes of getting the year started successfully and show the supporters and sponsors what the new-look team hopes to bring this year. The Vuelta Independencia Nacional is a UCI 2.2 race and is part of the UCI America Tour.
The Team SmartStop Pro Cycling Roster for the 2014 Vuelta Independencia Nacional
- Zach Bell
- Rob Britton
- Flavio De Luna
- Jure Kocjan
- Eric Marcotte
- Travis McCabe
The Vuelta Independencia Nacional features nine stages, with a double stage day on day six featuring a road stage and the 12.5-mile individual time trial. Stages five and eight will feature hill top finishes; with a good mixture of sprinters and climbs Michael has covered the basis when selecting his team for this race. Coming off a successful and fun training camp, Michael is looking forward to seeing how all the hard training in Tucson has paid off: “I expect the guys to get some quality racing in, and hopefully show us how hard they have been working in the off season.”
“While not make or break, it would certainly allow a rider to cement his position as a rider to consistently be selected for races throughout the year.” Michael hopes to see the team race hard throughout the week and post some good early season results. Compared to most other American continental teams, Michael held the teams training camp in January to get an early start to the season. Team SmartStop is looking for some early season wins, decent racing and good training,
As well as the teams goals while racing in the Dominican Republic, Team SmartStop will also be racing in the Dominican Republic as a way for the staff and riders to pay homage to Euris Vidal who was tragically killed in Santiago in December last year. Euris had raced in the United States for some time and we have had the pleasure of riding against him for the past five years. Euris was an excellent racer and this winter became the first Dominican to sign a professional cycling contract. While racing in the Dominican Republic, we will take this opportunity to pay our respects to Euris and his family and show him that he will be missed in the peloton in 2014.