Team SmartStop will be without its captain Zach Bell for about a month.
The Watson Lake native is out of action with a broken collarbone sustained during a criterium race in New Mexico on Saturday.
“Hazards of the job,” said Bell.
“Collarbones aren’t too bad, but I’m going to be missing out on a couples races. We’re not really sure yet. I have to see the doctors here and get it all assessed. But with collarbones you can usually get back to training pretty quick, a couple of weeks.”
Bell and the SmartStop team raced in the five-stage Tour of the Gila last week in New Mexico. Bell’s accident took placed during the event’s fourth stage, the Downtown Silver City Criterium.
Bell had placed 35th in stage one, 23rd in stage two and 15th in stage three.
The 31-year-old was in the lead group of four riders with just two laps to go when he was taken out of the race.
“I was lining up with the other guys, getting ready to go for the sprint, and somebody from another team who basically had nothing to gain came underneath me in a corner and our bars tangled up and he whipped me out,” said Bell. “It was a bit sad because he couldn’t have won the race anyway. I don’t know what he was doing taking so many risks, but basically I ended up paying the bill for it.”
It was a rough couple of weeks for Bell and SmartStop. Bell took two falls the previous week in the Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Teammate Travis McCabe fell in the second stage of the Tour of the Gila and still managed to win the bronze despite a scraped up leg.
“It’s been a rough week for the team, but we still did well,” said Bell. “But, yeah, we had a lot of crashes and a lot of damage.”
Team SmartStop placed third in the team general classification at the Tour of the Gila and team member Rob Britton placed third overall.
The team is also currently in third in two major rankings.
SmartStop is third in the U.S.A. Cycling’s National Racing Calendar with McCabe in first for 2014 men’s individual standings. Bell is currently ranked 17th.
The team is also third in the Union Cycliste Internationale’s Americas Tour that includes North and South America.
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