The Lupus Racing Team came together to deliver a stage win and two additional podium finishes at their first UCI stage race of the season, the 37th Vuelta Independencia Nacional Republica Dominicana, Feb. 27-Mar. 5. The team raced aggressively by putting riders in the daily breakaways.
Michael Olheiser (USA) solo’ed to victory on stage seven of the eight-day UCI 2.2 race in the Dominican Republic, and Matthieu Jeannès (France) and Evan Murphy (USA) finished third in stage two and stage eight, respectively. In addition, the Team also claimed five Top 10 finishes, fifth on stage one team time trial, seventh (Chad Beyer) on stage two, eighth (Chris Horner) and 10th (Olheiser) on stage four and fifth (Evan Murphy) on stage five.
Beyer finished 18th overall in the final general classification, and the Lupus Racing Team placed fourth overall in the final general team classification out of 20 international teams.
“We saw everything, the highs and the lows. From tough transfers, changed stages (going straight up mountains), to stage wins. We fought like champions. This team is awesome, no one person got the glory, but a shared experience to propel the Lupus Racing Team into the 2016 racing season. We raced about 700 miles in eight days, and shared three podiums between three different teammates, awesome.” said Olheiser. The 41-year-old veteran attacked his break mates in the final kilometer to take the win.
“By stage 8, we were in a much better place with Mike’s win the day before, so we really had nothing to lose and just put guys in every move. Chad found himself off the front with a dozen or so guys and I think we were all rooting for him as he could have probably won that stage if that group had gone to the line. Unfortunately, other teams wanted a field sprint and in the reshuffle just before we caught the break, our guys got separated. Thomas [Vaubourzeix] did a monster pull at first wheel from two kilometers to 800 meters to go. Bryan [Lewis] really smashed it in the last kilometer with me on his wheel, and I put out a great kick, but we came up just short of the win, taking third.” said Murphy about stage 8. Murphy had come close to a podium on stage five where he finished fifth after getting a leadout from Bryan Lewis and Horner.
The Vuelta Independencia Nacional commemorates the Dominican Republic Independence declared on February 27, 1844. Starting off with a team time trial, the course hilly stage race featured 1,047 kilometers of racing over eight days. Stage three, 173 kilometers from Santo Domingo to Mirador de Miches, challenged the racers with the first mountain-top finish. On the Queen Stage, the 131-km stage six, the racers faced an 18-km climb with grades up to 19% to the finish at Constanza.
37th Vuelta Independencia Nacional Republica Dominicana Stages
• Stage 1, Feb. 27, Santo Domingo, Team Time Trial, 20 kms
• Stage 2, Feb. 28, Santo Domingo to Barahona, 175 kms
• Stage 3, Feb. 29, Santo Domingo to Mirador de Miches, 173 kms
• Stage 4, Mar. 1, Santo Domingo to Samaná, 191 kms
• Stage 5, Mar. 2, Samaná to San Francisco de Macorís, 118 kms
• Stage 6, Mar. 3, Moca to Constanza, 131 kms
• Stage 7, Mar. 4, Santiago de los Caballeros to Santo Domingo, 139 kms
• Stage 8, Mar. 5, Circuito Parque Mirado Sur, Santo Domingo, 100 kms
“It was great to visit La Republica Dominicana and we were very welcomed by the people and racers. As far as I see it, it was a great opportunity for our team to bond and race, and spread awareness for the autoimmune disease, Lupus,” Murphy concluded.
The roster for the Vuelta Independencia Nacional Republica Dominica, Feb. 27 – Mar. 5, was Chad Beyer (USA), Chris Horner (USA), Matthieu Jeannès (Fance), Bryan Lewis (USA), Barry Miller (USA), Evan Murphy (USA), Michael Olheiser (USA) and Thomas Vaubourzeix (France). The Sport Director was Phil Cortes (Canada) and head mechanic was Zack Foley (USA).
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