Always a firm believer in the power of late-season athlete acquisitions, Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth Pro Cycling Performance Director Jonas Carney further bolstered the team’s roster with the signing of Chad Haga this week, a hard-charging elite amateur formerly of Team Rio Grande Racing.
“We’ve been keeping an eye on Chad since the early season,” said Carney. “He has had some great rides at some big races, including the Joe Martin Stage Race, the SRAM Tour of the Gila and the Nature Valley Grand Prix. He brings a unique skill set to our program, and has so many of the qualities that make a young rider successful.”
Haga, 23, is a recent graduate from Texas A&M University and had a breakout year in 2011, his first season as a fully committed racer. He kicked off his season by claiming the U25 jersey at the San Dimas Stage Race Prologue, and a week later was crowned the top amateur and 6th overall at Joe Martin. It was the young riders performance at Nature Valley – where he was again the top amateur – that sealed the deal for Carney.
“Chad has shown how strong he is all season by climbing and time trialing very well at the NRC level. At Nature Valley, he showed that he is more than just a strong rider; he rode a very smart, consistent race, and accomplishing his goal.”
Long, lean, and powerful, Haga excels in the time trial discipline, finishing 7th in the time trial at Gila this year, eleven seconds behind TT specialist Tom Zirbel.
“With the solid core of veteran athletes we have in this program, Chad will be able to learn and grow so much. Even late in a season like this, we have found that bringing in fresh legs will rally the guys as they continue to push through the long season.” said Carney. “Clearly he is one of the top amateurs in America and we are excited to see what he will bring to the table for us.”
Haga will be racing in the green and gold for the first time at the Tour of Elk Grove later this week, and continue to build his already excellent form as the team zeroes in on late season goals.
2011 Tour of Elk Grove Roster
- Colton Barrett
- Mike Creed
- Chad Haga
- Dan Holloway
- Julian Kyer
- Tom Soladay
- Mike Sherer