Chaddock turns BC Superweek Win into Pro Cycling Contract
~ Whistler native returns this weekend with impressive Team Exergy
Ben Chaddock doesn’t hesitate when asked what last year’s win at the 2010 Tour de Delta Prologue meant to his career as a professional cyclist.
“That was definitely the race that put me on the map,” Chaddock said.
No wonder. Chaddock knocked off Canadian Olympian and seven-time National Time Trial champion Svein Tuft, who was riding on a European-based Pro Tour squad at the time, by blazing around the 3.2-kilometer course in three minutes and 46.52 seconds. His surprising win caught the eye of Team Exergy director Tad Hamilton, who signed Chaddock up in October for his first NRC season.
Now, after surviving broken ribs in January and some early season struggles in his first full pro season, Chaddock returns to BC Superweek full of confidence after winning the final sprint and finishing third overall at the recent Canadian Criterium Championships. And he’s bringing an impressive team with him.
Among eight Exergy riders expected to join Chaddock when BC Superweek kicks off with the Tour de Delta Friday are Columbia’s Carlos Alzate, a former Pan-American champion and 2008 Olympian, and “Fast” Freddy Rodriguez, a three-time US Road Champion who also won a stage at the Giro d’Italia in 2004.
“We’re going to crush it,” said Chaddock, who is back in Whistler, where he was an FIS Alpine Skier for six years growing up before going to Whitman College in Washington State, switching to cycling and winning two Collegiate team titles.
“Team Exergy really wanted to support me in my home race. One of the goals is to get a win for every single rider on the team and maybe this is mine; a reward for some of the sacrifices I made for other guys earlier in the season.”
Chaddock made it clear he’s not counting on being the focal point for Exergy, and will be just as happy to keep providing support for his teammates.
Either way, they will all have plenty of support at BC Superweek.
In addition to friends and family, he has a sponsorship deal with Muscle Memory Personal and Group Training in TSawwassen, and they have set up three tents at Saturday’s Criterium in Ladner to cheer on Chaddock and Team Exergy, and raffle off one of his jerseys to raise money for youth at the Delta Rotary Club.
“My family will be there, and a lot of people who followed me when I was ski racing,” said Chaddock. “All the physiotherapists and chiropractors that have seen me since I was 15, my old math teacher, all those types of people. I’ll be ready to go, that’s for sure.”
Chaddock also put himself on the radar of the Canadian track team with a strong performance at nationals last August, finishing top-5 in every event he entered on his first time racing track, and may train with them in Los Angeles this fall. For now, though, he’s focused on a strong finish to the road-racing season.
It certainly didn’t start the way Chaddock had hoped.
After breaking ribs go-carting in January (“stupid of me”), he hit a rough patch at an Exergy training camp mid-February that continued through March, and didn’t feel like he was really contributing to his new team. Then, on his 26th birthday, they gave him a Volvo, and told him to get it to Greenville, SC in six weeks, with scheduled stops for altitude training camos and smaller races along the way. By the time he rejoined the main squad for Speedweek, he felt a lot better.
“It really helped me get into form and at Speedweek we raced six criteriums in eight days and my form continued to get better every day from the altitude training and I was able to learn something every night and apply it immediately the next night, which is huge,” he said. “I’m brand new, trying to figure out how to help my team leader, Carlos Alzate, and by the end I was able to contribute.
“It wasn’t until those last couple of days I finally felt like a professional cyclist.”
Stuck on the east coast during a team break shortly after, Chaddock managed to finish third at the two-day Wilmington Grand Prix in Delaware a short while later.
“It was my first NRC podium and I was essentially riding with no support against teams from Jelly Belly, United Healthcare and Kelly Benefits with like three to five guys,” he said. “It showed my team that I can do it and I’ve learned to position myself and it was a huge confidence booster for me, my first pro podium.”
Rodriguez joined team for the Philadelphia International Championship in June, and Chaddock was tasked with delivering him to the stretch run, helping a strong Exergy showing in the televised race and finishing the 250-km race himself.
From there it was off to the Canadian National Championships, where he passed David Veilleux on the final sprint but finished two points behind the European based pro rider in the overall standings, and third overall in Canada.
Now it’s back to BC Superweek, For Chaddock, it’s where it all started.
For more information on BC Superweek and the schedule, please check out the new website at www.bcsuperweek.ca, and to arrange photos of, and interviews with, the cyclists as they are announced, please contact Kevin Woodley at 604-828-5842.