Eric Marcotte claimed the biggest victory of his career with a hard-fought, tactically perfect execution of the USA Cycling Professional Championship men's road race, powering to the win just ahead of teammate Travis McCabe for a SmartStop 1-2.
Marcotte, 33, hails from Marquette, Michigan and came to professional cycling after a long amateur career. The former double master's national champion (road and criterium, 2011), moved across to the SmartStop team from ELBOWZ Racing with McCabe this season after several impressive results including a third place overall at the Nature Valley Grand Prix.
Marcotte was part of the day's early breakaway, which was joined by McCabe and Howes who attacked from the field to form a ten-rider leading group that split and reformed, split, mixed and formed again, then split and finally came together just before the final turn. Marcotte led out the sprint for McCabe but took the win instead.
How it unfolded
The 83-rider field set off from downtown Chattanooga under sunny skies and warm, humid weather for their 166.7km race, beginning with four small circuits in town before they tackled four long loops containing Lookout Mountain.
Ben King (Garmin Sharp) attacked from the gun, and while his first surge did not form the escape group, he managed to get into the day's long breakaway that went clear on the second short lap.
It was Optum's Brad Huff who sparked the successful move, and King tacked onto the train as it departed with Chris Jones and Brad White (UHC), Tyler Wren (Jamis Hagens Berman), Sam Bassetti and Jim Stemper (5 Hour Energy), Eric Young (Optum), Julian Kyer and Eric Marcotte (SmartStop), and Kevin Gottlieb (Airgas).
Young was dropped on the first trip up Lookout Mountain, and stayed with a chasing group with Nathan Brown (Garmin-Sharp), Bjorn Selander and Joseph Schmalz (Hincapie Sportswear Development), but that group never rejoined the front of the race.
Back in the peloton, chasing five minutes behind, Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) crashed out of the race on the descent, and suffered a fracture to his leg. Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) went down in the same incident and did not continue, but was uninjured.
The situation heated up on the third large lap, when Jesse Anthony (Optum) attacked into the climb. Peter Stetina (BMC) went after him on the climb, passing him and continuing on in pursuit, but he was pulled back by the Garmin-led peloton.
The pace of Phil Gaimon and Tom Danielson whittled down the peloton to around 20 riders.
The breakaway stayed mostly together until the final lap, when an attack from King split the group into two, with Jones, Stemper and Kyer the only riders able to follow the Garmin rider's pace. The peloton was greatly reduced, following 1:10 behind the break, and various riders in between.
As they entered the local laps, Marcotte was able to bridge back up to the leaders, and then Jones, White and Wren came across with Garmin's Alex Howes on the first of three closing circuits, but King was suffering and was dropped from the move shortly after.
With two laps to go, it was Jones, White, Wren, Stemper, Kyer, Marcotte and Howes being chased by a group of five Scott Zwizanski (Optum), Matthew Busche (Trek) Jacob Rathe (Jelly Belly), Travis McCabe (SmartStop) and Carson Miller (Jamis) which picked up King on his way out of the leading group. Only 20 seconds separated the two groups, with the peloton a minute behind.
The groups all came together on the penultimate trip up Kent Street, but then King and White were shelled.
McCabe launched an attack with Zwizanski, an Stemper was able to bridge across, leaving the rest behind as they headed into one lap to go.
The trio looked like they would duke it out for the podium, but with only 500m to go, first Jones and then the entire chasing group caught the three leaders and Marcotte went to the front to lead out McCabe, but instead took the victory by millimeters over his teammate, with Howes coming in third.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Eric Marcotte (Team SmartStop)||4:17:59|
|2||Travis McCabe (Team SmartStop)|
|3||Alex Howes (Garmin Sharp)|
|4||Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare)|
|5||Julian Kyer (Team SmartStop)|
|6||James Stemper (5-hour Energy)|
|7||Jacob Rathe (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)|
|8||Scott Zwizanski (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies )|
|9||Tyler Wren (Jamis Hagens Berman)||0:00:03|
|10||Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing)||0:00:07|
|11||Carson Miller (Jamis Hagens Berman)|
|12||Chris Butler (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team)|
|13||Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare )|
|14||Joshua Berry (Team SmartStop)||0:02:26|
|15||Oscar Clark (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team)|
|16||Benjamin King (Garmin Sharp)|
|17||Edward King (Cannondale)|
|18||Kevin Gottlieb (Airgas Cycling)||0:03:29|
|19||Gavin Mannion (5-hour Energy)|
|20||Carter Jones (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies )|
|21||Tanner Putt (Bissell Development Team)|
|22||Rob Squire (Jamis Hagens Berman)|
|23||Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team)||0:08:30|
|24||Bjorn Selander (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|25||Jake Rytlewski (Astellas Cycling Team)|
|26||Michael Olheiser (InCycle-Predator Components)|
|27||Phillip Gaimon (Garmin Sharp)|
|28||Fred Rodriguez (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)|
|29||Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare)|
|30||Cameron Cogburn (Team SmartStop)|
|31||Taylor Sheldon (5-hour Energy)|
|32||Jonathan Hornbeck (5-hour Energy)|
|DNF||Travis Livermon (Team SmartStop)|
|DNF||Benjamin Dilley (Team Novo Nordisk)|
|DNF||Chris Uberti (Astellas Cycling Team)|
|DNF||Hogan Sills (Astellas Cycling Team)|
|DNF||Stephen Hyde (Astellas Cycling Team)|
|DNF||Zack Noonan (Airgas Cycling)|
|DNF||Kennett Peterson (FireFighters Upsala CK)|
|DNF||Thomas Gibbons (Cibel)|
|DNF||Peter Stetina (BMC Racing Team)|
|DNF||Andrew Sjogren (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)|
|DNF||Daniel Summerhill (UnitedHealthcare)|
|DNF||Joseph Schmalz (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team)|
|DNF||Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team)|
|DNF||Thomas Soladay (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|DNF||Shane Kline (Team SmartStop)|
|DNF||Sam Bassetti (5-hour Energy)|
|DNF||Chad Beyer (5-hour Energy)|
|DNF||Christian Parrett (5-hour Energy)|
|DNF||David Williams (5-hour Energy)|
|DNF||Caleb Fairly (Garmin Sharp)|
|DNF||Nathan Brown (Garmin Sharp)|
|DNF||Thomas Danielson (Garmin Sharp)|
|DNF||Adam Farabaugh (MatthewGarneau Québecor)|
|DNF||Griffin Easter (Airgas Cycling)|
|DNF||Bradley White (UnitedHealthcar)|
|DNF||Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (Jamis Hagens Berman)|
|DNF||Matt Cooke (Jamis Hagens Berman)|
|DNF||Jacob King (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team)|
|DNF||Charlie Hough (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team)|
|DNF||Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare)|
|DNF||Connor McCutcheon (Airgas Cycling)|
|DNF||Ian Burnett (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)|
|DNF||Steve Fisher (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)|
|DNF||Jonathan Freter (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)|
|DNF||Sean Mazich (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)|
|DNF||Gregory Daniel (Bissell Development Team)|
|DNF||Eric Young (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|DNF||Ty Magner (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team)|
|DNF||Charles Bradley Huff (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|DNF||Alex Candelario (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|DNF||Ian Crane (Jamis Hagens Berman)|
|DNF||Stephen Leece (Jamis Hagens Berman)|
|DNF||Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team)|
|DNF||John Murphy (UnitedHealthcare)|
|DNF||Logan Loader (Amore & Vita Selle SMP)|
|DNF||Jonah Tannos (InCycle-Predator Components )|
|DNF||Calixto Bello (ManuelInCycle-Predator Components )|
|DNF||Samuel Hunter Grove(SamuelInCycle-Predator Components )|
|DNF||Tom Zirbel (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|DNF||Jesse Anthony (ptum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|DNF||Ryan Eastman (Bissell Development Team)|