February 19, 2015 (Calabasas, CA) – Team SmartStop was officially launched on Friday night at Pedalers Fork in Calabasas, California at the conclusion of a successful team camp. With the launch comes the news that as of the end of January, Team SmartStop are already leading the charge in the UCI America’s Tour Team Classification.
From the UCI’s provisional rankings on January 30th of the UCI Continental Teams, Team SmartStop is starting the season with the UCI’s acknowledgement as the strongest team in the America’s Tour with the number one provisional ranking of 599 points, 218.33 points ahead of the nearest rivals.
It has been no big secret that it is one of Premier Sports Group and Michael Creed’s major goals in 2015 to once again win the UCI America’s Tour and earn selection into the Team Time Trial (TTT) World Championships in Richmond Virginia later this year.
In 2014, Team SmartStop had five riders in the top 25 of the UCI America’s Tour individual classification, with Jure Kocjan holding the top spot at the end of the season, and wearing the white leaders jersey at the Tour of Alberta.
With the World Championships being held in the United States of America this September, gaining selection to the Team Time Trial event is going to be high on the agenda for many domestic continental teams and there are plenty of opportunities to gain points over the coming season.
Team SmartStop has two opportunities to pick up points, the Vuelta Independencia Nacional and the Vuelta Mexico, over the next three weeks. In 2014, the team started their campaign with wins in the Dominican Republic and they hope to do so again when the competition starts next weekend.
Of the Vuelta Independencia Nacional, Sport Director Michael Creed said: “This is a chance to solidify our chance at starting the World TTT, this is a important marker of where the new guys on the team are at and how hard we’ll have to chase UCI points for the rest of the year.”
Through the signing of 2014 Vuelta Mexico champion, Juan Pablo Villegas, Team SmartStop has increased their chances of gaining more points at the UCI 2.2 race held over the first week of March. Villegas won three stages in 2014, riding away solo in the final kilometers of stage four, beating our own Jure Kocjan who finished in second.
Team Owner James Bennett said on behalf of Premier Sports Group: ” it was a major goal of the team to keep its champions and UCI points leaders intact for 2015. We wanted to show the cycling community that we intend to grow on our success from last year and start this year where we left off, leading the rankings.”
A huge thank you to everyone who came out to talk, ride and meet with the team over the past week in Thousand Oaks. The team has shown over the course of this years training camp that they are race ready, determined and hungry for another big season in 2015. We are looking forward to kicking off the season this weekend in the Dominican Republic, stayed tuned this week for our roster announcement.
Click on the image below for a behind the scenes video of our official team photographs.