Yukon’s Zach Bell was in a weird spot at the start of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, two weeks ago.
The Watson Lake cyclist spent the last two years focused on road racing and then spent two months leading up to the Games training for the track. So Bell, who competed in both disciplines in Glasgow, was spread a little thin at the Games.
The 31-year-old nonetheless produced three top-10 finishes on the track, helped a teammate win a medal, and came 14th in the men’s time trial on Thursday.
“It was a nice course. Challenging with a lot of variety,” said Bell in an email to the News, describing the 38.4-kilometre course. “For me it was not a bad ride but not great. We have focused in on the track and team pursuit in particular over the last month. Most of my other events have been neglected as a result.”
Bell capped the Games with a did-not-finish in Sunday’s road race. Only 12 of the 139 cyclists completed the race, with no Canadians crossing the line.
Bell had only one other road race under his belt since breaking his collarbone in a crash in New Mexico at the start of May.
“It was one of the craziest courses I have seen. Really technical,” said Bell. “Really only room for 20 or so guys to race at any given point. There was also a lot of rain. And a variety of surfaces. It was not that anything went wrong for us. It was just how it played out. I personally was on some tires I was not familiar with and coming back from my crash was still a bit hesitant. I was tired from the trip and training. Generally just not in a good place to perform in that race in particular. I would have liked to perform better but in the end I rode well where I prepped well. That’s to be expected.”
Bell, who won the omnium with three gold medals at last year’s Canadian Track Championship, did some heavy lifting for the team in Glasgow’s velodrome.
He helped the Canadian men’s team take fourth in the 4,000-metre team pursuit.
Bell then rode to fifth in the 40-kilometre points race, to finish as the top Canadian.
He also placed 10th in the 20-kilometre scratch race, a race in which teammate Remi Pelletier-Roy of Longueuil, Que., took bronze. Bell won a bronze medal in the scratch race at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.
“I was a really big reason my teammate won a medal – in the same event I did in India. I had the strength to win one but in the end the team tactics meant we played another card and achieved the result. Would l Iike to have the hardware? Of course. But I feel just as accomplished for contributions I made to the team at this event.”
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