The Canada Day long weekend may be over, but the Maple Leaf will be prominent when BC Superweek starts with the Tour de Delta on Friday.
Whistler native Ben Chaddock returns to the race where he jump started his professional cycling career with a shocking win two years ago having recently won his first Canadian Criterium Champion. And since six of the nine races at the $105,000 BC Superweek are the criterium format – a multiple-lap race around a short circuit on city streets – Chaddock will be get to wear his new Canadian jersey a lot over the next two weeks.
“Coming back to the Tour of Delta in 2012 as a National Champion is a very special honor,” said Chaddock, who races professionally for Team Exergy. “Tour de Delta will be my debut in the red and white maple leaf kit. I am very excited to race in it after having a short break at home in Whistler these past ten days, a rewarding break after many weeks on the road since Christmas.”
Chaddock earned his pro contract with an impressive win at the Tour de Delta two years ago, topping Canadian Olympian and Europen-based Pro Tour rider Svein Tuft, who also returns to BC Superweek this year, in a Prologue.
“In 2010 I knew I completed a great prologue performance but was in total shock with the result,” Chaddock recalled. “That boost in confidence carried me through the weekend and the rest of the year. A result like that gives that extra positive self-talk of ‘I know I am the strongest rider in the race over a certain distance.’ So going into BC Superweek this year my goals are centered around performing to the best of my ability and just letting the results take care of themselves.”
A former competitive skier and strong sprinter, Chaddock knows that wins won’t come easy at BC Superweek this year, even with three strong teammates from Team Exergy, which won the inaugural UBC Grand Prix last summer, and hopes to defend that title this year.
With the historic Gastown Grand Prix also back on the schedule, and $105,000 up for grabs over nine races and 10 days at BC Superweek, Chaddock expects a long list of top North American professional teams to send strong riders.
“Money talks. A lot of riders and teams have been talking about BC Superweek this spring, especially with the return of Gastown to bolster the series into a very impressive 9 days of racing,” said Chaddock, who didn’t race the last Gastown Grand Prix in 2008, but has been preparing by watching Youtube footage.
“I know there will be teams of two to four from all of the strongest criterium teams in North America. We all know each other well as we race in the NCC and USACrits series together each weekend, but racing at home in Canada will be extra special. I look forward to enjoying the moments before and after the race while putting on a good show once the gun goes off.”
In addition to top pro teams, Chaddock can expect some stiff competition from fellow Canadians chasing his maple leaf jersey as Criterium Champion.
That includes the riders who finished behind him at the National championships – Cody Canning, who rides for the local Trek Red Truck team, and Nic Hamilton, a Victoria native riding for Jelly Belly Pro Cycling – as well as some of Canada’s top cyclists, home from around the world to race BC Superweek.
That list is topped by Svein Tuft, an eight-time Canadian Tim Trial champion, and Christian Meier, his teammate on the Australia-based Orica-GreenEDGE Pro Tour team. It also includes Ryan Anderson and Will Routley, who have been racing in Europe for Steve Bauer’s Spidertech powered by C10 team, as well as a couple local pros on US-based Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies – Marsh Cooper and Sebastien Salas, who like Chaddock used a strong showing at BC Superweek to earn a contract, and then won the King of the Mountain Jersey as top climber at the prestigious Tour of California this year.
“It is a special week as it is our one chance per year to race at home,” Chaddock said of the locals. “But don’t discount younger riders in the Vancouver area. There are some serious young talents eager for their shot, so there should be some fireworks.”
Chaddock is proof of that possibility – and what it can lead to.
BC Superweek runs from July 6 through 15, and is made up of the Tour de Delta (races on July 6, 7, 8), Original 16 UBC Grand Prix (July 10), Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (July 11), Giro di Burnaby (July 12) and the Tour de White Rock (races on July 13, 14, 15)