Beijing World Cup boosts Bell to No. 1

Watson Lake's Zach Bell is the best in the world. Period. For the first time in his career, the 28-year-old has reached the top of the heap, securing the UCI Track Cycling men's ranking of No. 1.

Watson Lake’s Zach Bell is the best in the world. Period.

For the first time in his career, the 28-year-old has reached the top of the heap, securing the UCI Track Cycling men’s ranking of No. 1.

For Bell, it’s not just the time of the year that makes the achievement special, it’s the year itself.

“It feels pretty good. I’ve kind of knocked on the door in years past, been second and third,” said Bell in an interview with the News. “This time of year, it means a lot more than some of the other times (when I’ve been near the top), when it’s been early season and other guys haven’t attended races. We’re coming to the close of the season, so to get to that point now is a bit more significant.

“And being an Olympic qualifying year, with the A teams coming out, it’s a lot more significant.”

Pushing him to the top of the standings was a silver in the omnium at the 2011 UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Beijing on Saturday.

Off to a strong start, Bell took first in the opening event, the flying lap race, an individually timed race in which cyclists complete three laps of the track with their fastest determining their placement.

“You get three laps to get up on the track, get your speed going, and then you basically just go as fast as you can for one lap,” said Bell. “It’s the most sprint-like event (in the omnium) – it’s like the 100-metre dash.”

After three world cup omniums so far this season, adding up to 18 singular races, the flying lap win is the second event he has won this season, also taking first a scratch race in Melbourne, Australia, where he won silver to start the season.

Bell went on to finish fourth in the points race and the one-kilometre time trial, sixth in the individual pursuit and ninth in the scratch race in Beijing.

Showing improvement from the first two world cups, Bell took sixth in the elimination race, moving up nine positions since the last event in Cali, Columbia, where he captured a bronze.

“Big progress – that was another high point on the weekend,” said Bell. “I’m not a complete idiot when it comes to that race; I’m starting to figure it out.”

Simple compared to some other events, in the elimination race riders in last place each lap are pulled.

“It was getting pretty frustrating up to this point. We did a lot of video reviewing. I sat down with my coach, between the last (world cup) and this one, for a good number of hours just about this race. I guess it paid off.”

Consistency has been the key to his climb to the top of the rankings board, now having won two silvers and a bronze at the three world cup omniums so far this season.

For this most recent silver, Bell was just two points behind Great Britain’s Samuel Harrison in the standings with 30.

“It’s been consistency; always being up there,” said Bell. “I’ve tried not to be really in top form this year because I’m hoping to save that for the World Championships.”

As Bell looks to the World Championships, being held at the end of March in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, he has the mettle that comes with a top ranking.

“It gives me a lot of confidence in where I am at the moment,” said Bell. “Right now it feels like whoever these countries send to the events moving forward, I’m going to be able to handle them, one way or another.”

Sport Yukon’s International Male Athlete of the Year for the last three years, Bell won a bronze in the scratch race and took in two other top-10 results at the Commonwealth Games in October.

Last August, he firmly established himself as the country’s top track cyclist winning four golds and a silver at the 2010 Track Cycling Canadian Championships.

Contact Tom Patrick at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read