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Vuelta Independencia Nacional Stages 5-8 Final Report, Results – Schwingboth 3rd on Stage, Bell 8th Overall

release by Team SmartStop

Stage 8 podium (l-r): Cristian Torres (Col), Robert Sweeting (USA), Jacob Schwingboth (Can)  ©  Team SmartStop

March 02, 2015 – Race organizers of the Vuelta Independencia Nacional today cancelled Stage 5, the Queen Stage from Moca to Constanza, citing heavy traffic on the race route on Feb. 26. The stage had started like those beforehand with flurries of attacks and riders trying to form that early breakaway group. The peloton stayed together until the base of the first climb where three riders made their escape.

However, not long after the race was neutralized by the race organization and eventually stopped. Surrounded by confusion, the peloton waited on the side of the road as they discussed whether to restart the race again or not.

The stage was thought to get underway shortly after the neutralization but the race was eventually cancelled altogether and riders were sent back to the race hotel.

Team SmartStop is disappointed the stage could not be raced, this was to be a climbers day and Chris Butler’s first test of his early season climbing legs, but rider safety is paramount.

The Vuelta Independencia Nacional will resume again tomorrow with a flat, fast circuit in Santiago.

Stage 6 – Santiago to Santiago – 104km – Feb. 27
Team SmartStop threw everything they could at stage six of the Vuelta Independencia Nacional today only to fall short as another crash marred the sprint finish.

The 104km (16 lap) circuit race around Santiago went as predicted – high speeds, lots of attacking and plenty of action. The goal for Team SmartStop was to collect as many time bonuses as possible as well as hunt for another stage win.

“Today was close, the guys went out all guns blazing for the time bonuses and the stage win, it went good, we got two of the three bonuses,” said Sporting Director, Michael Creed.

For the most part, the peloton remained together for the majority of the stage, until the final third of the stage when a group of six including Travis McCabe formed a breakaway group. The advantage never got out to more than a minute and was at 20 seconds when the bell rang for the final lap.

With 1km to go, Team SmartStop was altogether and ready to give everything they had for the final sprint to the finish line. “Huffman welded everything together but with 800m to go the yellow jersey crashed right in front of them, it messed up the sprint and Travis got 6th after having to put a foot down,” said Creed.

Jaime Castaneda of Team EPM_Une won the stage.

Despite falling short of the goal, Creed is impressed with the way the team is riding in the Dominican Republic. Chris Butler now sits second on the general classification behind new leader Stiven Ortiz (Team EPM_Une) by just seven seconds.

With no King of the Mountains points on offer during stage six, Evan Huffman still retains the KOM jersey and the team is sitting well clear of second place on the Team Classification.

Tomorrow will the Vuelta Independencia Nacional will take the peloton 151.6km from Santiago to Santo Domingo in the penultimate stage of the eight-day stage race.

Stage 7 – Santiago to Santo Domingo – 151.6km – Feb. 28
Stage seven of the Vuelta Independencia Nacional brought heartbreak once again to Team SmartStop when the man the team was leading out, Zach Bell, crashed in the final corner missing his chance at a podium finish.

“The team rode really well and put everything behind Zach,” said Sporting Director, Michael Creed, “it’s heartbreaking to have all this bad luck.”

Bell was sitting in second wheel with 300 meters to go but with the rain making the roads slick, he came down and crashed. Bell came away with only minor road rash and no serious injuries.

The penultimate stage in the Dominican Republic took the riders 151.6km from Santiago to Santo Domingo and featured three intermediate sprints and one KOM.

“The race was aggressive from the start, but a headwind kept things fairly together,” said Creed, “finally [Travis] Livermon got into a move with four other guys.”

Livermon and his breakaway companions stayed out for a large portion of the stage and were largely uncontested by the peloton until the final stretch of the stage. With the breakaway group over the climb first, Livermon taking second place at the KOM.

With 10km to go Livermon attacked the breakaway to see what he could make of the stage, but with a downhill stretch and a headwind it was tough going and the breakaway was eventually caught by the charging peloton with 5km to go.

Team SmartStop regrouped and lined up their sprint train ready to put Bell into prime position for the finish. Misfortune has struck the Team SmartStop lead out and sprint once again at the Vuelta Independencia Nacional,.

Creed said: “all I can hope for is that it makes the boys hungrier and even more motivated for tomorrow.”

The final 84km stage tomorrow in Santo Domingo will be the last chance for Team SmartStop in the Dominican Republic, they will be looking to retain Chris Butlers third place on the general classification and the teams position as number one on the Team Classification. With no KOM points on offer, Huffman will return to the United States with the KOM jersey.

Stage 8 – Santo Domingo to Santo Domingo – 96km – Mar. 1
After being devastatingly close on previous stages, Bobby Sweeting has won the final stage of the Vuelta Independencia Nacional in the Dominican Republic.

With a short, flat 84km race made up of 14 circuits of 6km, attacks were imminent and a fast pace holding at around 47km/h throughout the stage. Team SmartStop were active from the start and had the hunger to make something of the stage after the previous days bad luck.

Over halfway through the stage, Evan Huffman was in a two-man break with Team SmartStop on the front covering all the counter attacks coming from the other teams. “I was marking attacks and killing them,” said Sweeting, “I jumped into a group of six and we got a bit of a gap, so I sat on and let them try to chase Evan down.”

The group of six was struggling to bridge the gap so Sweeting stepped in and ramped up the pace. “I decided to take a hard dig and see who would come with. I ended up getting across with two other guys.”

With the group of five now established, Team SmartStop had the numbers and Sweeting was feeling good for the sprint. “At that point we had about four laps to go, so Evan ramped up the pace and did about 90% of the work in the group to ensure it stayed away – that’s the only reason we made it to the line, he was 100% committed.”

With 1km left to race, Huffman hit the front hard, Bobby sitting in fourth wheel. The breakaway group looking for Sweeting to make the first move and at 200m to go he made his winning move.

“Losing the sprint on stage 4 has been on my mind for a few days now and it was eating me alive, so there was no way I was going to let this opportunity go to waste,” he said, “Racing with SmartStop is very different for me. In years passed I would stay in the field and wait, either for the sprint or a defining climb.”

“But we have so many strong riders, anybody on this team can win, and it frees me up to race more aggressively while knowing that if it doesn’t work out we have a whole lot of other ways to win.”

“It’s reassuring for everybody and I think the depth of this roster will be our biggest weapon for 2015.”

It has been a week of ups and downs for Team SmartStop but the guys stepped up on every stage despite what was handed to them the previous day. Sporting Director, Michael Creed is thrilled Sweeting was able to clock his first win with the team after coming so close in earlier stages: “Bobby has fit in instantly and made a big sacrifice in deviating from his normal schedule to come to a race like the DR.  So I’m really happy he got rewarded with his first win for the team and his first for us.”

Team SmartStop has come away from the Vuelta Independencia with two stage wins, Chris Butler finishing third in the overall General Classification, Evan Huffman taking out the King of the Mountain competition and a Team Classification win.

Creed said: “In general I think the guys showed up to the race ready to perform and its a testament to the level of this team that they guys are still a little disappointed with a few of the results.”

“Hopefully we gain some momentum from this and move it forward.”


Stage 6
1. Jaime Castañeda (Col) EPM-UNE-Área Metropolitana 2:25:41
2. Diego Milan Jiminez (Dom) Inteja-MMR Dominican Cycling Team
3. Boris Carene (Fra) Team Differdange – Losch
4. Edward Stiven Ortiz (Col) EPM-UNE-Área Metropolitana
5. Jorge Montenegro (Ecu) Team Ecuador
6. Travis McCabe (USA) Team Smartstop
7. David Lozano (Esp) Team Novo Nordisk
8. Isaac Yaguaro (Ven) 0:05
9. Oscar Mauricio Pachon (Col)
10. Bayron Guama De La Cruz (Ecu)

28. Zach Bell (Can) Team Smartstop
40. Jacob Schwingboth (Can) Bike Aid 0:24
89. Samuel Blancette (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD 6:44
93. Simon Ouellet (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD
94. Etienne Samson (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD
97. Kyle Buckosky (Can) Bike Aid 9:24

Stage 7
1. Norlandis Taveras (Dom) Finauto-Campagna-Ciclon B. 3:23:11
2. Diego Milan Jiminez (Dom) Inteja-MMR Dominican Cycling Team
3. Robigzon Oyola (Col) EPM-UNE-Área Metropolitana
4. Jonathan Espinal (Dom) 27 De Febrero
5. Augusto Sanchez Beriguete (Dom) Aro Y Pedal-Fenix-BHD
6. Isaac Yaguaro (Ven) G.B. Del Tachira – Concafe
7. Jaime Castañeda (Col) EPM-UNE-Área Metropolitana
8. Kevin Pujols (Dom) 27 De Febrero
9. Boris Carene (Fra) Velo O. – Vetiver G.
10. Joaquin Sobrino (Esp) Inteja-MMR Dominican Cycling Team

54. Kevin Archambault (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD
65. Kyle Buckosky (Can) Bike Aid
91. Samuel Blanchette (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD 0:59
93. Simon Ouellet (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD
97. Zach Bell (Can) Team Smartstop
104. Jacob Schwingboth (Can) Bike Aid
105. Etienne Samson (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD

Stage 8
1. Robert Sweeting (USA) Team Smartstop 1:47:48
2. Cristian Torres (Col) Aro Y Pedal-Fenix-BHD
3. Jacob Schwingboth (Can) Bike Aid
4. Isaac Yaguaro (Ven) G.B. Del Tachira – Concafe
5. Evan Huffman (USA) Team Smartstop 0:05
6. Jaime Castañeda (Col) EPM-UNE-Área Metropolitana 0:14
7. Diego Milan Jiminez (Dom) Inteja-MMR Dominican Cycling Team
8. Xavier Nieves (Ven) G.B. Del Tachira – Concafe
9. Daniel Balsero (Col) Asocive
10. Jeroen Breewel (Ned) Team Netherlands

25. Zach Bell (Can) Team Smartstop
47. Kevin Archambault (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD
62. Samuel Blanchette (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD 0:25
74. Kyle Buckosky (Can) Bike Aid
101. Etienne Samson (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD 0:14
103. Simon Ouellet (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD 12:51

Final GC
1. Robigzon Oyola (Col) EPM-UNE-Área Metropolitana 24:28:56
2. Edward Stiven Ortiz (Col) EPM-UNE-Área Metropolitana 0:13
3. Chris Butler (USA) Team Smartstop 0:20
4. Jaime Castañeda (Col) EPM-UNE-Área Metropolitana 1:59
5. Diego Milan Jiminez (Dom) Inteja-MMR Dominican Cycling Team 2:07
6. Boris Carene (Fra) Velo O. – Vetiver G. 2:18
7. Travis McCabe (USA) Team Smartstop 2:26
8. Zach Bell (Can) Team Smartstop 2:28
9. Juan Pablo Suarez (Col) EPM-UNE-Área Metropolitana 2:29
10. Erik Slack (USA) Irt Racing 2:36

31. Jacob Schwingboth (Can) Bike Aid 7:27
64. Kyle Buckosky (Can) Bike Aid 17:32
83. Etienne Samson (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD 28:28
95. Samuel Blanchette (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD 45:44
100. Kevin Archambault (Can) Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD 57:40

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