The 10-day BC Superweek series of road races got underway with the Tour de Delta, which included a pair of criterium events on Friday and Saturday, followed by a road race on Sunday.
Whistler's Ben Chaddock didn't start in the first crit event, but entered Saturday's event where he placed a solid fifth. He was also the second Canadian in a race where the top 42 athletes finished within an eight second gap.
Whistler's Will Routley did both events, finishing 22nd and 78th.
That set up Sunday's UCI-sanctioned road race, where Routley finished 11th, a second back of the lead pack. Steve Fisher of the U.S. took the win, followed by Germany's Yannick Mayer and Ryan Anderson, the top Canadian. Routley was fourth among the Canadian racers.
Chaddock also was a non-starter in that event.
Next up was the UBC Grand Prix on July 9. Routley was one of dozens of DNFs.
Chaddock said he made the decision to only enter one of three races so he could train for a few upcoming events in the U.S., including a criterium in Boise, Idaho, and the Cascade Cycling Classic in Oregon.
"I'm trying to do a little training up in Whistler to get ready for Cascade, and if I'm down there (in Vancouver) I'm essentially travelling and staying homestay and racing crits, and you can't do a five-hour training day if you're doing a one-hour crit at night," explained Chaddock.
Saturday's criterium event was very controlled until the end, which explains why it was so close. "It was very controlled and very aggressive I guess, and there were a lot of teams there — full squads from Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies and Jamis Hagens Berman Cycling, and a bunch of good guys — plus two German teams that have come in for Superweek... plus a lot of individual racers and some home teams like Trek Red Truck. Because I was riding solo I was just trying to figure what Optum and Jamis wanted to happen, because whatever they wanted was going to happen."
There were a few attempted breaks, but none of them got away. Eventually, with 18 laps to go a few riders broke away and managed to get around 13 seconds on the rest of the field. But there was a lot of racing left and the peleton bridged back up in the final minutes.
"It came down to two (laps) to go, and the crowd prime was over and there was a bit of a reshuffle at the front, but I was able to find the wheel I wanted — I went for an Optum wheel... Optum was covering the inside line with three guys and I was trying to stay to the right inside of them. A couple of guys came out of nowhere from behind, they must have got a good aerodynamic slingshot and I came into the last corner a little bit out of position and out of contention for the win. I still had a good sprint and came around a few guys to finish fifth."
Chaddock is now racing for Team SmartStop presented by Mountain Khakis. He was picked up last year after his last team folded, and so far he says it's worked out well. Chaddock has had a lot of opportunities to race crits with his teammates, as well as an opportunity to train and race in longer road events.
"I've had a difficult May and June after a pretty good early season," he said. "I didn't get many results, which is just the result of working for the guys on the team, and I've really enjoyed doing that. It's been nice, and it's been tough — it's been nice to be home for the last 10 days to recharge my batteries and see friendly faces. It makes you remember that there's a lot of support back here at home."
As well as the Cascade race, Chaddock says another major focus is the Tour of Alberta six-day road race in September, which his team is working to qualify for. Right now Chaddock says it's a priority to get picked for the squad.
"I think I've raced the most races of anybody on the team so far this year, which I've enjoyed," he said. "They're using me in crits and road races, and have put a lot of faith in my abilities, which is awesome. The biggest challenge has been to structure my season to train through all of the travel and all the races we've been to across North America."
The 2013 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix was on July 10, the Giro di Burnaby is on July 11 and the final event, the Tour de White Rock, runs from July 12 to 14.
For more, visit www.bcsuperweek.ca.