Zach Bell makes triumphant return to track

Road cycling. Track cycling. Either way, Zach Bell is the man. Just two months after winning the national title in road racing, the Watson Lake cyclist returned to the velodrome to win gold.

Road cycling. Track cycling. Either way, Zach Bell is the man.

Just two months after winning the national title in road racing, the Watson Lake cyclist returned to the velodrome to win gold in the omnium at the 2013 Canadian Track Championships in Dieppe, N.B., on Sunday.

It was Bell’s first time racing on the track since the 2012 London Olympics.

“I expected to go in and be the strongest guy there – I’d be lying if I didn’t say that,” said Bell. “It was good to perform, but it was also good to see some of these young guys coming up and getting closer to the level. They still have a ways to go, but they were stronger and smarter than they have been in years past – especially the guys near the top there.

“It was challenging for sure. My form wasn’t actually too bad considering I haven’t really been on the track since the Olympics.”

Bell collected a bevy of hardware to finish at the top of the multi-stage omnium event in the elite men division.

The 30-year-old won gold in the points race, the elimination race and the scratch race. He also raced to silver in the individual pursuit and bronze in the “kilo” – the one-kilometre time trial – on the weathered outdoor track.

“The track is not very fast, so no personal best times or anything like that,” said Bell. “But I am a little surprised by how fast I was in some of the speed events. Given that I haven’t been on the track very much, I still had quite a bit of speed, which was good.

“The road is still more the focus.”

Because of time restrictions at the championships, omnium racers were grouped in with cyclists who were competing in the individual events, like the kilo.

Therefore, Bell also holds champion status in the points race, the elimination race and the scratch race.

He was the fastest omnium racer in all but one event in Dieppe.

“I got third in the kilo, but that was in the pool of all the riders and I was the fastest omnium rider in the kilo,” said Bell. “If I had been the faster pursuer (in the pursuit race) I would have won every event in the omnium. It’s a little bitter-sweet, but the guy who won (Quebec’s Remi Pelletier Roy) is a really good guy and I’m trying to mentor him a little bit. Because when I do completely step away from the track, I want him to step in and be competitive at a pretty high level. Some of that will be giving him some of the lessons I had to learn the hard way.”

Bell’s results last week in Dieppe represent his best at the track nationals since the 2010 championships, in which he won four gold and one silver.

The two-time Olympic track cyclist, who placed eighth in the omnium at the London Games with a win in the scratch race, placed second in the omnium at the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships.

But Bell has spent almost all of the cycling season on pavement, not wood.

He won his first national road title at the 2013 Canadian Road Championships in St-Georges, Que., in June. He also took fourth place in the time trial and eighth in the criterium at the nationals.

Cycling with his new team, the Hong Kong-based Champion System Pro Cycling Team, he won a stage in the Tour de Korea in June and a stage in the Tour de Taiwan in March.

Bell also won the final stage of the Tour de White Rock, the Peace Arch News Road Race, to end the B.C. Superweek in July.

Last month Bell raced in the London Surrey Cycling Classic in London, England, followed by the Arctic Tour of Norway and the Tour of the Fjords. He placed eighth in a 24-kilometre time trial during the fjords tour.

“It was really my first race in Europe I was able to show my stuff,” said Bell. “Some of the places up in northern Norway were similar to some of the places in the Yukon. That was kind of neat.”

Bell is currently racing in the Tour of Alberta from Edmonton down to Calgary this week.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Most Read