Team SmartStop concluded their exceptional year of racing with a double win over the weekend at the Thompson Bucks County Classic, where Zach Bell took out the road race on Saturday and Shane Kline the Criterium on Sunday.
In the wet and cold Zach Bell raced away from a breakaway of six riders in the final 20km of the Bucks County Classic to solo to victory after 100 miles of racing.
In a race filled with drama, rain and crashes, Team SmartStop’s ultimate goal was to finish the year the way we started, hold onto the National Racing Calendar’s leaders jersey and the UCI America’s Tour.
With Kiel Reijnen (United HealthCare), our threat to the UCI America’s Tour jersey going down in a n unfortunate crash early on in the race, the NRC and America’s Tour were all but sealed up for Team SmartStop.
With only four riders left in the field from the team, both Julian Kyer (crash) and Adam Myerson had abandoned, it was up to Bell, Kline, Livermon and McCabe to control a field represented by Optum Pro Cycling, Team Jamis Hagens-Berman and United HealthCare.
The rain came down and the field was getting whittled down, with riders crashing and abandoning due to the conditions. Throughout the race there was a flurry of attacks and on the final of six 14 mile circuits, Zach Bell would find himself in the winning move of six riders.
With 20km of racing left, Zach launched an attack on the climb and left the remaining breakaway riders in his wake. He would ride solo in the rain into New Hope to take his first UCI win of the season and the final road race win of 2014 for Team SmartStop.
The Criterium on Sunday defied all historic logic and was won from a field sprint and not a breakaway group as has happened in previous years.
Because of the way the race has unfolded in the past, Team SmartStop were extremely active for the entire 60 mile race to ensure they would not miss that winning move. A number of riders attempted to escape but were only given a rope of up to 10 seconds before a full gas peloton would swallow them back up again.
Crashes were once again prominent in the race with Kline hitting the deck with three other riders midway through the race. He got up unscathed though and after a quick wheel change from mechanic, Chris Kreidl, and a free lap he was back in the pack and ready to use his frustration in the race.
On the final lap, Adam Myerson and Shane Kline would connect to start the lead out and with 200m before the finish line, Shane launched his attack and rode away from the field for a convincing win.
Video of the final 200m can be viewed here.
The Bucks County Classic concludes the racing year for Team SmartStop.