Team SmartStop launched its 2015 team in Calabasas, California last week after finishing up a two-week training camp. The winners of the 2014 UCI Americas Tour team classification are looking to repeat that accomplishment this season, and earn a place in the UCI Road World Championship team time trial event.
Toward that end, the squad will head to the Dominican Republic for the Vuelta Independencia Nacional and the Vuelta Mexico as its first UCI events of the season.
"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," team director Mike Creed said of the early season strategy.
New to the team this year is last year's Vuelta Mexico champion Juan Pablo Villegas, and the team hopes his presence will help it accumulate the points it needs. "It was a major goal of the team to keep its champions and UCI points leaders intact for 2015," team owner James Bennett said. "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."