With all the excitement surrounding Watson Lake’s Zach Bell cycling for Team Canada at the London Olympic Games in a little over a month, it’s easy to forget he is also a member of Canada’s only pro-continental team, Team SpiderTech powered by C10.
When track cycling at the Olympics, it’ll be Bell versus the world. While road cycling with SpiderTech at the 27th annual Tour de Beauce, in the Beauce area in Quebec last week and weekend, he was pulling his weight as a member of the elite team.
The 29-year-old had a support role at the six-stage Beauce event and helped his SpiderTech teammate Hugo Houle take second overall.
“It’s a team race – it’s a stage race – so most of the days we were looking after our guys that are finishing farther up,” said Bell. “We had a guy who finished second in the entire race. Our priority was looking after him and making sure we preserve that position.
“The other results don’t really matter so much.”
The first three stages were between 160 and 164 kilometres each. Stages 4 and 5 were both 125 kilometres. However, Stage 4, the only one that was an individual time trial without a mass start, was where Bell shined. He took ninth place in the 20-kilomere time trial.
“The time trial was the only day where you ride for yourself – go all out and see what you can do,” said Bell.
Houle’s result bodes well for the future of SpiderTech. His second-place finish is being considered a breakout performance for the 22-year-old.
“He’s been on the team for a couple years, but he’s a young rider and just started to really develop this year and last year,” said Bell. “This was a huge result for him. We knew he was capable of it and his time trial was pretty fantastic.”
Before Bell returns to the track to prepare for London, he has one more series of road races with SpiderTech. Bell will be competing at the Canadian National Road Championships this weekend in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, an event he won a bronze at last year.
“On paper we probably won’t have the strongest guys there, but using our strengths as a team, we’re hoping to put everyone else in trouble,” said Bell. “Whoever we can get away to win the jersey is what we’re going to try and do.”
The London Games will be Bell’s second Olympics. In his first Olympics, the 2008 Beijing Games, Bell finished seventh in the points race and 12th in the men’s Madison event.
“Things are going well, step by step. Everything is lining up the way I’ve been hoping for,” said Bell. “We’ll get a better sense of where I’m at once I’m back on the track. Last time I was there (on the track) it was looking pretty good.”
A silver-medal performance by Bell at the 2012 UCI Track World Championships in April provided Canada with a berth into the six-race omnium track event at the Games.
Bell made the podium at both UCI Track World Cup Tour events he competed at this season with a silver in Cali, Colombia, and a bronze at a world cup in London. Those results put Bell in fourth at the end of the world cup tour.
He also finished 16th out of nearly 200 cyclists at the 28th annual Philadelphia International Cycling Championship two weeks ago.
Bell is not the only Yukoner – nor the only Watson Laker – going to the London Games on Team Canada. Two others are going as alternates. Watson Lake’s Brittanee Laverdure is first-alternate for Canada’s wrestling team for the second Olympics in a row. Whitehorse’s Jeane Lassen will be an alternate for Canada’s weightlifting team.
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