Toyota-United's Ivan Stevic was delighted with his overall victory at the Nature Valley Grand Prix, his first stage race win in the United States. The Serbian national champion claimed the overall yellow jersey after holding out from a dominate fleet of Health Net rivals, to win the race by 27 seconds from Australian Rory Sutherland.
"I wanted to show myself I could win a stage race here in the US, especially this one because it's very important for NRC [National Racing Calendar] points for the team," beamed Stevic. "And I have to say I'm happy because winning a stage race in the US brings it to a different level – you can even make plans to win the overall NRC next year, it shows maturity as a rider."
Despite the strength of the Health Net squad, which dominated the men's race with five of a possible six stage wins, Stevic and his Toyota-United teammates fended off any threats by rival squads to hold onto the yellow jersey. After taking the jersey on the opening stage, Stevic only lost it for a single stage after the stage 3 time trial before regaining it that night and keeping it through to the end.
"Plus, I know the team is happy; I saw the guys they were just happy, that's the biggest reward," added Stevic.
Despite claiming several stage victories on US soil, including at the Tour of Georgia, Stevic had never managed to claim an overall victory until now. In addition to the yellow jersey, Stevic took home the Wheaties Sprint jersey from the NVGP.