Ben Chaddock had just found the form he's been looking for this season when his B.C. Superweek came crashing to an end.
Days after posting an impressive fourth-place finish in the Tour de Delta's Brenco Criterium, the Whistler pro cyclist was involved in a nasty crash during the UBC Grand Prix on Tuesday, July 8, that knocked him out of the remainder of Superweek, a series of high-profile road races around the Lower Mainland.
"I just blew it with three corners to go," said Chaddock. "It was a fast left-hander, and I clipped my pedal and went down real quick. One of the other guys smashed me pretty good from behind, and I think my foot was still attached to the bike, so I kind of popped my hip flexor a bit."
The 29-year-old said he also picked up some of the worst road rash he's ever experienced, and he was forced to spend the rest of the week recovering while his Garneau-Quebecor teammates continued on without him.
"I was pretty disappointed, but that's the way it is, I guess," he said. "I had good form, and that kind of gave me a good opportunity to contribute the way I want to contribute."
Chaddock's result in the Brenco Crit was an example of that, as he made a big push before the final sprint in the July 5 race but came up just short of the podium. Knowing from past experience that he could make a move on the inside before the rush to the finish, Chaddock was able to put himself in contention on the last lap.
"I just took the bull by the horns, led myself out and went from about 15th to fourth," he said. "It was close on the line... but it was a good performance.
"That gave the guys some confidence in my abilities, which was good, because I've been a worker bee in a lot of races this year."
Chaddock's fourth-place finish was one of several notable finishes for Garneau-Quebecor during the week, including a runner-up result for Pierrick Naud in the Tour de White Rock Road Race, which closed out Superweek on Sunday, July 13.
And despite missing the final five races of the event, Chaddock caught some good timing with his injuries. He already had several weeks of rest planned into his schedule after Superweek, as he's now back home preparing for the Tour of Alberta in September.
"I'll be in Whistler for six weeks before Alberta," he said. "At least now I'll have an extra week of training."
ONE RACE LEFT FOR ROUTLEY BEFORE COMMONWEALTH GAMES
Whistler's Will Routley also raced a reduced Superweek schedule, although that was always the plan for the Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies rider as he builds towards the Commonwealth Games.
However, he made the most of his limited appearances, placing ninth in the Tour de Delta UCI Race held July 6 while teammates Jesse Anthony and Ryan Anderson notched a one-two finish.
"It was a good day," said Routley. "It was pretty aggressive, that race, and everyone was attacking the whole time. The only move that really got away for any length of time was me, solo. I put in a bit of an effort that way, then a group came up with Ryan and Jesse in it, and we had three of (the top) 15.
"We just kept attacking it and breaking it up into smaller groups, and it worked out really well."
Anderson also returned to the podium with a runner-up finish in the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix on July 9, cracking the top three alongside crit specialists Luke Keough and Ken Hanson from United Healthcare. Routley rode that event, too, finishing 84th.
Routley and his Optum teammates are back in action this week at the Cascade Cycling Classic, which got underway with a prologue on Tuesday, July 15, in Oregon and had five other stages scheduled before wrapping up on July 20.
After that race, Routley will be coming back to Whistler for about a week, then heading to Scotland for the Commonwealth Games. His event, the road race, takes place Aug. 3.
"For Cascade, it's really just to get in a hard week of racing and training," he said. "A couple stages are actually fairly well suited to me, so I'll try to perform well, but the big goal is to see the team do well... and that I'm building towards (the Games.)"