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Sports archive for August 28, 2013

Bell to lead strong Canadian contingent in WorldTour races

Yukon cyclist Zach Bell will be headlining the Canadian national team during two UCI WorldTour races in Quebec next month.

photo

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Zach Bell

Yukon cyclist Zach Bell will be headlining the Canadian national team during two UCI WorldTour races in Quebec next month.

The WorldTour is making its only North American stop in Canada for a fourth consecutive year, with one-day races scheduled for Sept. 13 in Quebec City and Sept. 15 in Montreal.

Bell, the current Canadian Road Champion, will lead the Canadian crew of eight riders in both races. He won the Canadian Road Championships held in Quebec this June.

The 30-year-old Bell will be joined by some other top-quality riders for the event, including Quebec cyclists Bruno Langlois and Antoine Duchesnes.

The team will race together in the two events, which will average about 200 km each.

“The national team that is going is a good one, and we should be able to do some good things,” Bell told the Star yesterday. “The team is better suited to the Quebec City race and I think we will have the motivated guys that want to fly the flag there.

“Personally, I will do what I can to help the team get a result, if it also happens to be a personal result all the better.”

Other members of the national team include Victoria B.C.’s Rob Britton and Nic Hamilton, Marsh Cooper of Delta, B.C., sprinter Ryan Anderson of Vancouver and Michael Woods of Ottawa.

Nineteen teams are expected to compete in the two WorldTour races.

The Grands Prix cyclistes de Québec et Montréal will begin with the Pro Sprint Challenge Sept. 12.

Bell is the defending champion of the exciting head-to-head event, in which one member of each team is entered to compete on a one-km course.

“Winning the sprint challenge takes confidence, legs and a bit of luck,” Bell admitted.

“It was great to win it last year, but I was a different athlete after doing a lot of track-specific speed work.

“At the end of the day, I will just have to put my head down and be faster to the finish four times again. I think I am capable but I also think I will not be underestimated like I may have been last year, and that always makes winning more challenging.”

Bell is also expected to play a starring role in the 2013 Canadian Track Championships, which begin today at the Dieppe Velodrome in New Brunswick.

But the Olympian from Watson Lake downplayed his role on the track team.

“Track nationals is an important developmental event in Canada,” he said. “It is not a real goal for me this year, but it is important for the younger riders to see and connect with the more senior members of the national team, as well as race against them.

“Without any track-specific training, I will be relying on my fitness and experience to carry me through the week. I think I am capable of winning a few titles, but there are some strong young riders and they are getting better every year.”

Bell said his focus remains on the September’s road events.

“A little time on the track should help sharpen my speed while helping keep the grassroots of racing in Canada healthy,” he said.

Bell currently rides out of North Vancouver with the Pro-Continental Champion System Pro Cycling Team.

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