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Marcotte takes a surprise victory at the USA national championships after being part of a long breakaway. In the end a small group sprinted for the win and after trying to lead out teammate McCabe, he held on to take the biggest win of his...

Photo: Sirotti

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSSHIPS

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27.05.2014 @ 13:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Eric Marcotte became a surprise winner of the road race at the USA national championships when he led home his teammate Travis McCabe to make it a 1-2 for the small SmartStop team. All day he was part of a breakaway and when more riders rejoined from behind, he was so strong that he held on to take the win despite trying to lead out his teammate in the sprint from a small group.

 

In the final stretch of the men's 165-kilometer road race, it was Eric Marcotte and his Team SmartStop p/b Mountain Khakis teammate Travis McCabe (Tucson, Ariz.) rocketing out of the pack to cap off an improbable day for the UCI continental team. The winning time was 4:17.59.
 
"I don’t think it’s sunk in," said Marcotte at the post-race press conference. "I told some of the other riders on other teams that I don’t want to be pack fodder; I want to affect the race and help the team do something special today. I took a chance, made the break and rode really smart. I saved it for that final climb and caught those guys on the descent. I’m feeling unreal right now."
 
Marcotte also views his win as something that gives hope to the smaller budget teams.

"Obviously it gives our team that exposure that we want to make it to the next level and keep developing and getting a bigger budget to do more and more across the world," he said. "As far as the other smaller budget teams, it gives us hope. You’ll say, ‘Oh, I’ve raced against this guy; how did he finish this off?’ You can do it. You have to believe in yourself in that moment and not look back. I don’t think I’ll ever get the chance to race this again or I may never get the chance to race this race again, and those final kilometers, I was never going to let it go any differently."

Soon after Marcotte slipped into his Stars-and-Stripes jersey signifying him as national champion, he was still in awe of what had transpired.

"It’s kind of crazy; it doesn’t even seem real. I certainly was an underdog and probably not on the radar at all for anybody, so it’s pretty crazy. I’m sure a lot of people are just like, ‘Who’s this guy?’ I’ve been doing my homework and staying healthy and well and able to compete at this level, so it’s unreal."

McCabe was just as happy for both himself and his teammate, Marcotte.

“It’s absolutely incredible," he said. "With the way that Eric and I have come up racing together, to have him get the win is just absolutely amazing. We’re both Arizona boys, and we train a lot together and race a lot together. I knew with four hours, there’s no one stronger than Eric, especially at the end.”

Alex Howes (Boulder, Colo./Team Garmin Sharp) finished third in the bunch sprint to claim the bronze medal while his teammate, Ben King(North Garden, Va.) won the King of the Mountains jersey.

“It was a pretty tough day," Howes commented. "Garmin Sharp had a goal to make it a tough day. Pretty much every time up the hill we hit it, trying to make it hard on guys like McCabe here. He said we did, so we did our job. We wanted to make a race out of it, and I feel like we did. I think that shows with only about 20 guys really finishing up there (near the front).”

The men's road race was marred by a crash on the first descent down Lookout Mountain that resulted in Friday's time trial champion, Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo./BMC Racing Team), suffering a broken leg.

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