Three-Time El Tour de Tucson Winner Turns PRO
Monday, May 5th, 2014
Eric Marcotte, three-time winner of El Tour de Tucson, turned pro this year. He started the season in a coveted yellow jersey.
Marcotte has signed with Team SmartStop. Tucsonan and reigning elite criterium national champion Travis McCabe is also with SmartStop.
In the team’s first race of 2014, Vuelta Independencia Nacional in the Dominican Republic, Marcotte wore the yellow jersey for four stages. The team finished second overall.
He can thank his quick thinking for the win. He missed a manhole cover in the first five kilometers.
“Then and there, I said I wanted to see what was coming up, so I began racing very aggressively, attempting to make the breakaway,” he said. “It couldn’t have happened any better, as our GC rider, Rob Britton also made the split. From there, seven or eight of us built a substantial seven-minute lead.”
Marcotte’s aggressive riding also helped capture three back-to-back titles in El Tour de Tucson, including dramatic sprints to the finish in the 111-mile race in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He did not ride in last year’s El Tour.
Marcotte became a pro after he and McCabe rode with Team SmartStop in the Tour of Alberta in late 2013. The experience of racing with pros like Peter Sagan and Cadel Evans gave them a taste for more.
“Tour of Alberta opened my eyes as to what I’m physically capable of,” said Marcotte, 33, a Scottsdale chiropractor who made multiple podium appearances at National Racing Calendar and national championship events with the elite amateur Elbowz Racing team.
Yet, Marcotte has learned that riding with the elite comes with a price.
“Being in the yellow jersey had me doing podium presentations daily, USADA doping control daily, photographs and, in general, the riders and spectators viewed me differently,” he said. “It was a special time and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to live it with the belief in me from (Team SmartStop race director) Michael Creed.
“One my most special moments with the yellow jersey was having it presented to me by the mother of a cyclist from the town we were racing in. Her son was killed as he tried to stop a robbery. It was an honor and an unforgettable moment. As I left the podium, I gave her a huge hug.”
The team also made a strong showing in the Vuelta Mexico in March and is now preparing for some of North America’s biggest races.