Posted by Editoress on 10/27/14
Preparations for the 2015 racing season are in full swing, with Team SmartStop filling a 13-man roster for the upcoming year.
As previously announced, USA National Champion Eric Marcotte and USA Cycling National Racing Calendar winner Travis McCabe will return to Team SmartStop in 2015 after a stellar season.
The team welcomes back the Canadian trio of GC contender Rob Britton, Team Captain Zach Bell and U23 Canadian Time Trial National Champion Kristofer Dahl. In 2014 Britton achieved top three general classification podium results in the Vuelta Independencia Nacional, Tour of the Gila and Tour de Beauce and will once again be a key contender in major events.
Despite a collarbone injury midway through the season Bell was an integral member of Team SmartStop and will again fulfill the role of team captain. Creed said: "Zach is an unbelievable professional, he surprised me throughout the year, we knew he was going to be a really nice, strong guy but we saw him drop some really good climbers at Bucks County. I have no more expectations or goals for him but we will be looking to put him in a position to win a UCI race. He knows where he is at and where I need him to be."
After a thrilling year with Team SmartStop, Jure Kocjan will return to the squad bringing his experience and leadership to the squad. The 2014 UCI America's Tour individual winner had a strong comeback year with the team and has pledged his support towards continuing building the squad.
Sprinter Shane Kline, all-rounder Travis Livermon, alongside climbers Julian Kyer and Flavio De Luna are the remaining returning riders. For Creed it was satisfying to be able to bring back so much of his original team: "More than a few had offers from other teams, it is a tremendous compliment and I really think it shows where we are at."
In 2015, Team SmartStop welcomes three new faces to the team; Evan Huffman heads back to the USA from Europe after racing for two years with the Astana Pro Cycling team. Evan will fill a gap that Creed has identified from his 2014 squad. With his time trial skills, Team SmartStop will become even more competitive in all areas of stage racing.
Bobby Sweeting and Chris Butler will join from the 5Hr Energy Team and Hincapie Development Team respectively. Sweeting has proven success on the road after an extensive career racing on the American racing scene. Butler, the young rider from South Carolina, finished in the top 15 on the mountainous stages at the Tour of Utah this year and will be a top contender for mountaintop finishes throughout the 2015 season.
"I noticed a consistent weakness," said Creed, "We were inconsistent in our time trials but with the addition of Evan and Bobby we have made up for that."
Team SmartStop is excited to welcome the new riders to the squad and for the return of key members, and through this squad Creed believes that the team will be just as strong as the 2014 team and hopes to emulate the achievements of his first year as a Sport Director.
With a podium finish in every race they attended, wearing the yellow jersey at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, Team SmartStop came out in 2014 firing on all cylinders. But despite being without that initial element of surprise going into the 2015 season Creed explains that the team's racing style will not change.
"We did fly a little bit beneath the radar but that excuse was gone by the time Winston-Salem [Cycling Classic] was gone; if people didn't take us seriously by then it was their own fault. Our racing style won't be impacted, we will be aggressive, on our toes, and we will race to win. I don't see it as a challenge."
Creed has three major goals for the team in 2015 including another national championship win, representing Team SmartStop at the Team Time Trial World Championships in Richmond in September and that elusive stage win at a Medalist race.
The full 2015 Team SmartStop roster is:
Flavio De Luna
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