In a quick turnaround, Whistler’s Ben Chaddock has found a new pro cycling team to ride with in 2013 after his former Team Exergy folded on short notice in late November.
The 28-year-old has been added to the roster of Team Mountain Khakis-SmartStop, a UCI pro continental squad that Chaddock frequently found himself racing against during his two years with Team Exergy.
Chaddock said Exergy Development Group’s decision to pull its funding came as a surprise, considering that riders were under the impression the team would compete in 2013 until just days before the Nov. 27 announcement.
“I was fortunate to get a lot of support from the industry this week,” the reigning Canadian criterium champ said Monday (Dec. 3) from Palo Alto, Calif. “I had multiple offers, so it felt good to know there are people who want me around.”
Reports indicate that Exergy is facing financial difficulties, however, CEO James Carkulis cited cycling’s doping scandal as the main factor in an announcement ending the sponsorship.
“There is no choice given the corruption prevalent within the sport. The magnitude of this situation should not be taken lightly and ignoring the severity is not going to rebuild the public’s trust in the sport,” said Carkulis.
Team Mountain Khakis-SmartStop is based out of North Carolina. Chaddock said the crew will allow him to continue focusing on stage racing
“I know the guys, they know me and I feel like it’s going to be an atmosphere that’s a lot of fun,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chaddock’s B.I.K.E.S. program (Bicycle-Inspired Kinetics in Elementary Schools), which aims to inspire youth to be active and follow their goals, continues to gain traction. He has made dozens of classroom visits in Canada and the U.S., including at Whistler schools, and said his phone “didn’t stop ringing” after an appearance on Global TV pitching the program.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “I never saw myself doing assemblies or that type of public speaking when I started this, so it makes me feel good that I didn’t really think about it, I just did it.”
Visit www.tinyurl.com/chaddock for more information about B.I.K.E.S.
Routley helps launch cycling fund
Fellow Whistler-based pro rider Will Routley has helped launch a cycling initiative of his own, as he was introduced as a board director for the newly-created Global Relay Bridge the Gap Fund.
The fund will support up-and-coming cyclists who need funding assistance for travel and other expenses while trying to make the jump to professional racing.
“It is a really exciting initiative,” Routley said in an email. “I’m proud of what we have started here and I think it can make a significant impact on cycling in Canada.”
Global Relay, the same company that revived the Gastown Grand Prix, has made a four-year, $400,000 commitment to the initiative, which is already supporting some Canadian riders. Routley and former teammate Ryan Anderson first presented the idea to Global Relay during B.C. Superweek this summer, then approached fellow pro riders Svein Tuft, Andrew Pinfold and Erinne Willock to make up the fund’s board.
“It was a perfect chance for us to pitch the idea to (Global Relay) of a cycling development fund,” said Routley. “We have talked a lot about the tough time in a cyclist’s development from national to international ranks, and from amateur to professional, and how (these are times when) support is harder to come by, and many Canadians flounder and leave the sport at this point.”
Routley will also be riding for a new team next year after his Team SpiderTech announced in October that it was suspending operations for 2013 while focusing efforts on acquiring necessary sponsorship for a UCI ProTour licence.
Routley told The Question that he has a team lined up, but is awaiting for the crew to make an official announcement before revealing who he’ll ride for. He said he’ll be meeting with the new team in Europe in early January and begin racing in mid-February.