Zach Bell speeds into new cycling season

It's a new season and he's on a new team, but Zach Bell is still fast fast fast. The Watson Lake native has already climbed podium steps with just one event under his belt.

It’s a new season and he’s on a new team, but Zach Bell is still fast fast fast.

The Watson Lake native has already climbed podium steps with just one event under his belt.

Bell took second place in Stage 7 of the 35th annual Vuelta Independencia Nacional in the Dominican Republic last week.

“I think the whole team performed pretty well,” said Bell. “For me it was stretching the legs out and getting things moving again. We got a bunch of podiums, so that was good. Everyone came to race and came away with something.”

Bell’s silver came in the event’s longest stage, a 162-kilometre race from San Cristobal to San Juan.

The three top finishers, including Bell, crossed the finish line within a bike’s length of each other.

“Zach got jumped from behind and had he had another 10 metres he would have had him,” said Bell’s team director, Michael Creed, in a news release. “But that’s why we have a finish line. Zach was coming so quick, at the 150-metre mark he was three bike lengths behind the first two guys, we weren’t sure if he was going to catch them but he has a good sprint on him.”

Bell is now cycling for the SmartStop professional cycling team based out of North Carolina.

SmartStop collected a total of four podium finishes in the Domincan, including Bell’s silver. He raced for Hong Kong’s Champion System Pro Cycling Team last season.

“It’s like a lot of the teams I’ve been on, there are some Canadian ownership in there,” said Bell. “It’s on paper as in North Carolina, but really it’s all across the country.

“The team I was with last year closed up shop and they did it pretty late in the year, so I had to scramble a little to find a place.

“The director, Mike Creed, is up to very recently a pro – he raced last year – and it’s his first directing gig. I raced with him a bit and I have a lot of respect for him and I when I heard he was taking over the program, I knew it was going in a direction I’d want to be a part of.

“It’s been more of a criterium team, so we wouldn’t have done a race like the Dominican, but we’ll be doing races like that all year.”

With his second-place finish Bell placed 39th overall out of 81 riders at the Vuelta event. He was the second Canadian behind SmartStop teammate Rob Britton, who placed second overall.

Bell’s strongest results came in the longest and shortest stages in the Domincan. The day before his silver, the 32-year-old took seventh in the 10-kilometre Stage 6 time trial in Mirador del Sur.

“My team has asked me to focus a bit on the time trial efforts a bit this year and that was kind of a tester,” said Bell. “We didn’t have all our equipment down there so I think there were a couple of us who were right up there in the top 10 and the difference was guys who had all their equipment and guys who didn’t. It was a preparation race, so the intention wasn’t to have everything anyway.

“That was a good result. And then to back it up with a good race the next day was good too.”

Bell, who resides in North Vancouver, had arguably his best season to date last year.

The two-time Olympian became a national champion on the road with a first-place finish in the 2013 Canadian Road Championships in St-Georges, Que.

Bell also took fourth place in the time trial and eighth in the criterium at the national championship.

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

He is currently unsure whether his schedule will allow him to defend those titles this summer.

Contact Tom Patrick at

Just Posted

Sarah Walz leads a softball training session in Dawson City. Photo submitted by Sport Yukon.
Girls and women are underserved in sport: Sport Yukon

Sport Yukon held a virtual event to celebrate and discuss girls and women in sport

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bagged meter fees could be discounted for patios

Council passes first reading at special meeting

The Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell is among a number of sites that are expected to make more commercial/industrial land available in the coming years. (Submitted)
Council hears update on commercial land

Number of developments expected to make land available in near future

keith halliday
Yukonomist: Have I got an opportunity for you!

Are you tired of the same-old, same-old at work? Would you like to be a captain of industry, surveying your domain from your helicopter and enjoying steak dinners with influential government officials at the high-profile Roundup mining conference?

Clouds pass by the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Friday, June 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Yukon government, B.C. company want Supreme Court of Canada appeal of Wolverine Mine case

Government concerned with recouping cleanup costs, creditor wants review of receiver’s actions.

The Village of Carmacks has received federal funding for an updated asset management plan. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Federal funding coming to Carmacks

The program is aimed at helping municipalities improve planning and decision-making around infrastructure

Paddlers start their 715 kilometre paddling journey from Rotary Park in Whitehorse on June 26, 2019. The 2021 Yukon River Quest will have a different look. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
The 22nd annual Yukon River Quest moves closer to start date

Although the race will be modified in 2021, a field of 48 teams are prepared to take the 715 kilometre journey from Whitehorse to Dawson City on the Yukon River

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its June 7 meeting

Letters to the editor.
This week’s mailbox: the impact of residential schools, Whitehorse Connects, wildfires

Dear Editor; Anguish – extreme pain, distress or anxiety. Justice – the… Continue reading

PROOF CEO Ben Sanders is seen with the PROOF team in Whitehorse. (Submitted)
Proof and Yukon Soaps listed as semifinalists for national award

The two companies were shortlisted from more than 400 nominated

The RCMP Critical Incident Program will be training in Watson Lake from June 14-16. Mike Thomas/Yukon News
RCMP will conduct three days of training in Watson Lake

Lakeview Apartment in Watson Lake will be used for RCMP training

John Tonin/Yukon News Squash players duke it out during Yukon Open tournament action at Better Bodies on June 5.
Four division titles earned at squash Yukon Open

The territory’s squash talent was on full display at the 2021 Yukon Open

Most Read