Whistler’s Ben Chaddock got another chance to hang with some of the world’s best sprinters last week in Quebec and once again held his own.
Chaddock made a second-straight appearance in last Thursday’s (Sept. 6) Challenge Sprint Pro 2012 event, coinciding with the Grands Prix Cyclistes UCI World Tour races later on the weekend in Quebec City and Montreal, and advanced a little bit further this time around.
The 27-year-old reached the quarter-finals of the event, up against riders from all 18 UCI Pro Tour teams and a strong crop of other Canadian talents.
“(The result) was nice because I didn’t even get out of the first round last year,” said Chaddock. “I love going to that event at the end of my season. It’s great to be able to see what the top level is before the offseason… it motivates me.”
Competitors rode a one-kilometre course with a climb to the finish, needing to place in the top two of a four-man heat to advance. Chaddock, the reigning national men’s criterium champ, was one of three racers selected by Cycling Canada to join the field. He was up against a strong field in the qualifying round but made it through by placing second behind Timmy Duggan, the 2012 U.S. road race champion and Liquigas-Cannondale rider.
“I just played it cool and had a lot of confidence going in after some good training,” said Chaddock.
He was grouped in a quarter-final against two other Canadians — Olympian Zach Bell from Team SpiderTech and national team member Remi Pelletier-Roy — and did not advance to the semis.
“Remi had a nice gap, Zach went with him and I just couldn’t get into Zach’s draft,” said Chaddock. Bell and Pelletier-Roy wound up beating all of the Pro Tour competition and finished one-two in the final.
“Obviously, Zach and Remi were on a very good day and were very motivated… and there is some satisfaction knowing those guys went on and won the whole thing.”
Chaddock is now in New Brunswick for the Canadian Track Championships, which start Thursday (Sept. 13). He’ll be riding all six events of the elite men’s omnium, in which he placed fourth overall last year with podium finishes in the scratch, points and elimination races.
Chaddock has been doing velodrome training for the past few weeks. Though a new Olympic cycle has just started, riding for Canada in track cycling at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro is still a possibility for Chaddock.
“I’m here just to keep my foot in the door, show them I’m still interested,” he said. “I want to see how I can do with a little bit of training, and I’ve reacted well.”
But for now, Chaddock said his focus remains on road cycling, particularly as he’s re-signed with the Idaho-based Team Exergy for the 2013 season, which will be his third with the team.
“I’m excited for the job they have lined up for me, as I’m moving now away from criteriums and more towards road races, which is what I want to do,” he said. “
Routley headed back to Europe
Whistler’s Will Routley did not end up riding in the Quebec races despite his Team SpiderTech being one of three UCI Pro Continental crews entered in the event.
Routley did help teammate Lucas Euser to an eighth-place finish in the six-stage Tour of Utah in mid-August, though the 29-year-old said in a blog post that he “suffered like a dog,” dealing with the heat, elevation change and a quick turnaround from racing in Chicago.
Routley is expected to take on a fall race schedule in Europe to finish the year.
Meanwhile, SpiderTech has extended its sponsorship agreement with the team through 2015, making the squad a stronger candidate to earn a Pro Tour licence. The team has also announced that Duggan will join the team in 2013.