Watson Lake cyclist named to Commonwealth Games team

For Watson Lake cyclist Zach Bell, going to the Commonwealth Games this October in Delhi, India, is not just exciting, it's a return to his roots.

For Watson Lake cyclist Zach Bell, going to the Commonwealth Games this October in Delhi, India, is not just exciting, it’s a return to his roots.

“I’m looking forward to doing another big games as a Yukon athlete,” said the 27-year-old. “It’s exciting to be able to go back to the events where I got my international start.”

Bell, who cycles for Kelly Benefits Strategies Pro Cycling Team out of Minneapolis, was named to Canada’s Commonwealth Games team last week, joining just 12 other male and female riders from across Canada.

“I know pretty much all of them,” said Bell of the men’s team. “On the road and on the track, it’s probably the strongest team this generation has seen for any major games. It’s essentially going to be the (2008) Olympic team plus a few riders who are a bit stronger than they were at the Games.”

Making the team means Bell’s second trip to the Games, having competed at the last ones in Melbourne, Australia in 2006, finishing fifth in the scratch race. Bell also set a Canadian record in Melbourne – four minutes and 31 seconds over four kilometres – in the individual pursuit, a record that stands today. Included on this year’s team is Travis Smith, who raced with Bell in 2006, winning two medals at the Games.

“I think the men’s road team is extremely strong,” said Bell. “I’m significantly better than I was at the last Games.”

The team does not include Canada’s latest cycling super star, Ryder Hesjedal, who just days ago finished seventh at the Tour de France, the best result from a Canadian in over 20 years.

“It’s not for lack of trying to get him, but he’s had a pretty extensive season already,” said Bell. “I think he’s earned the right to opt out.”

Not only is Bell confident with the team, he is confident with himself, having produced strong finishes so far this year.

Just over two weeks ago, Bell won the Tour de Delta road race in Delta, BC, breaking away from the lead pack of 10 riders in the final eight kilometres for the win.

“I never won that race before, and that’s actually the last race I did, so my form is starting to come in,” said Bell. “I’ve been chipping away at road results this year.”

He has also had top-five finishes in a couple American stage races over the last few months and began the year winning two gold medals at a World Cup event in Beijing.

Sport Yukon’s International Male Athlete of the Year award recipient the last two years, Bell also represented Canada at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, finishing seventh in the points race.

“I like to race with my professional team, but at the end of the day it’s sort of a job,” said Bell. “Usually when we come together as a Canadian team, it’s always a pretty major event – the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games – so it’s good and we have a good family on the track.

“It is definitely a different feeling (representing Canada).”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Yukon Liquor Corporation delays plans to hike booze prices

After business owners raised concerns the corporation says it will go back and consult on changes

Yukon chooses Dempster fibre line route

“We needed this last piece”

RRDC to require non-Kaska hunters in Ross River area to get special permit

People hoping to hunt in Ross River area this season need a permit from the Ross River Dena Council

New routes top priority for Whitehorse transit plan

Full Sunday service still off the table, though plan proposes pilot project

City mulls replacing Handy Bus with taxi vouchers

‘Whitehorse Transit must take steps to provide a sustainable solution’

Missing Oregon family found after possibly getting lost on purpose

Officials say family of four was found near Dease Lake after their vehicle was apparently abandoned

Yukon Roller Girls, North Coast Nightmares face off at Scar Wars

‘Our jammers had to work a little bit harder than they’re used to’

Big Cruise doubles down on the Skagway cruise market

The world’s largest leisure travel company is doubling down on the Skagway… Continue reading

Neighbours slam proposed Copper Ridge townhouses

Property values, parking cited as cause for concern

New Wolf Creek accessible trail nears completion

‘It’s a totally different trail and they barely touched anything’

Competition topples Tippy Mah’s Whitehorse condo plans

Work suspended on 44-unit project after pre-sales fall short

One-day event focuses on Yukon housing woes

Territory suffers from low vacancy rate, aging rental stock

Mosquito Enduro-X kickstarts racing season

‘It’s fun, family-type racing and it gets the kids out and riding’

Most Read