February 28, 2014 (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) – The final stage of the Vuelta Independencia Nacional ended with a cancelled stage, the eight stage of the race, a circuit around the town of Santo Domingo was deemed unsafe after three laps of races.
Race organisers decided that the race would therefore be decided on the standings after stage seven the previous day. This put Team SmartStop’s Rob Britton in second on the overall general classification (GC) behind Edwin Sanchez who won the GC for the second year running.
After a successful eight days of racing,Team SmartStop head home from of the Vuelta Independencia Nacional with half a dozen podiums including three stage wins, two second places, and top tens on each stage raced. Jure Kocjan who won two stages, also finished third in the points classification and the team finished third overall in the team classification.
Starting off the stage race with two riders on the podium was a great debut for the team. Eric Marcotte was in the yellow jersey for four stages and the team did an awesome job protecting him and Rob Britton throughout the race.
“The team rode amazing all week and I think that’s obvious with the results we had. Three stage wins and half a dozen podiums. The guys came here ready to race and show from day one we deserve to race with the best,” said Rob after the final stage.
With an aggressive peloton all week, it was important for the guys to launch attacks, cover moves and keep Rob out of danger.
“Since out main goal was stages, for the beginning of most stages we would be launching attacks and I would just sit right and only hit the wind if there was a threat up the road. After we covered the break the guys did an amazing job keeping me safe, out of the wind and in great position all day, especially in some of the dicier finishes.”
Rob is more than happy with how he finished in the Vuelta Independencia Nacional stating: “I had a good feeling leaving camp and that was confirmed this week.”
Directuer Sportif, Michael Creed, is impressed with the teams performance on their first outing of the year: “It was really good, everyone came here prepared to race hard and despite some logistical issues they did not let this hamper them and no one used this as an excuse not to perform.”
“We have come out of this race knowing that we are a real team.”
Defending the team’s position on the GC and getting stage wins were the goals for the stage race and the team came out and did exactly that.
“It’s really hard with only six guys, everyone always have to be on form, there is no room to have an off day,” said Michael, “They really worked so well together.”
“We were lucky to have the Colombians wanting to control most of the race, but the guys were always riding the front, managing to stay out of trouble.”
The first race is always the hardest, it is unknown how the guys will gel and race together but Michael has put together a great team of guys who have formed great bonds and are working well together.
“You can really see how the dynamics work with only six guys, if there are cliques or someone is getting left behind but these guys fitted in really well together, they all go out for dinner together, they pay attention to each other.
“I am so happy with the group of guys.”
The team now focuses their attention to the Vuelta Mexico, which starts next Wednesday. Watch out for our team announcement on Monday.
1. Edwin Sanchez (Col) Formesan 20:19:34
2. Rob Britton (Can) Team SmartStop 1:54
3. Pedro Torres (Col) La Vega Cne 2:17
4. Carlos Galviz (Ven) Tachira Concafe 5:10
5. Wilson Marentes (Col) Formesan 6:13
6. Andres Diaz (Col) Incycle Predator 6:28
7. Felix Cardenas (Col) Formesan 7:09
8. Pedro Herrera (Col) Formesan 8:17
9. Addelyn Cruz (Dom) Finauto 9:01
10. Zhandos Bizhigitov (Kaz) Kazakhstan 13:13
39. Zach Bell (Can) Team SmartStop 28:06