Back To News

Zach Bell – 2013 Canadian Road Champion

Press Release courtesy of Cycling Canada

(St-Georges, QC – June 22, 2013) The 2013 Canadian Road Championships Men Elite road race proved to be yet another very exciting race in St-Georges, QC, ending in a nail-biting sprint of a seven-men breakaway, won by Zach Bell of North Vancouver, BC/Watson Lake, Yukon.


(c) Cycling Canada
(c) Cycling Canada

“It’s pretty surreal. There have a lot of people telling me that I was capable of winning. This year, I knew coming off Korea that I had good form. I knew the course was really similar to some of what we were doing over there,” said Bell, riding with Pro-continental Champion System Pro Cycling Team.

The race which had some great talent at the start line, started, as expected, like a canon. Led by Christian Meier of Orica-GreenEDGE, a quick breakaway was formed at around the 10km mark from the start. Early after arriving at the circuit in St-Odillion, a group of 12 riders formed, and managed to gain a maximum gap of approximately 3 minutes on the peloton, which saw many chase groups attempt a bridge.

“Today, it played out exactly how I wanted it to play out. I wanted to make a selection early, and ride it away. I did a lot of work in that group to try to keep things moving, as did everybody else. There was a lot of interest to keep it going,” added Bell.  “We knew there would be two groups immediately. I knew a lot of the guys in my group from previous teams so we worked really well together. We knew there was a lot of power in the back too.”

As the race exited the circuit after eight laps, the group of 10 riders left exploded out, and saw attack after attack. Finally, it’s Meier who took the solo charge, making an attempt at winning his second Canadian title. Unfortunately for Meier, the chase group of six had enough reserve to catch him with three kilometres to go, and set up the final sprint of the small group.

Ryan Anderson of Team Optum-Kelly Benefits followed Bell’s wheel in the sprint, while U23 rider Antoine Duchesne of Bontrager Cycling took the third place, all within the same time as Bell.

“Once the selection was made early, I knew it was my race to lose. I wanted to take the initiative, and I was here to race. When Christian broke away, I did some megapulls to bring him back. I had the one with the most interest. I wasn’t gonna try to bluff my way into it. You don’t win these things by making everybody else work for it, you gotta do it yourself.”

Bell represented Canada at the Olympic Games in track cycling, and is highly decorated with two World Championships in the Omnium. Since coming back from London where he finished a disappointing eighth place, Bell has transitioned from track to road, and found a new team in Champion System after the dissolution of Team SpiderTech.

“The transition from Track to road has been really good. I don’t think I realized how taxing it was to do both until this year. A lot of it has been from Champion System and the way that dealt with me. They have been very careful not to burn me out, especially at the beginning of the year when I was a bit of a fragile individual.”

In the off season, after the Olympics, Bell suffered from another blow, losing his first child at birth. Bell took some time off cycling, and retreated with his wife Rebecca to cope with the tragic loss.

“It’s not behind me. I’d be lying if I’d say on some of these trips I am not in a box sometimes. The Canadian Cycling communities have been really big whether it’s having a skype chat with Will, or talking to some of the coaches. We are such a tight knit community. There was a lot of people who wanted to see me back, and it’s propped me up when I needed it. Having some success this year definitely made it easier as well. It’s still a long way from perfect. I still don’t know what the future holds for me in cycling. The present is however very good.”

Zach Bell stepped for the first time on top of the podium at a Canadian Road Championships. In 2011, he came third as the dissolved Team SpiderTech placed three riders on the podium, in Burlington.

Duchesne took the U23 title for a second consecutive year, followed by Pierrick Naud of the Garneau-Quebecor Cycling Team and Stuart Wight of Team New Brunswick.

Tomorrow will be held the fast-paced criterium in the streets of downtown St-Georges as well as the Canadian Sprint Challenge. Both winners of the Elite Men categories will earn a ticket to the Pro Sprint Challenge, part of the Grand Prix cycliste de Quebec festivities.


Elite Men

1. BELL, Zachary (Champion System Pro Cycling) 4:13:51

2. ANDERSON, Ryan (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) 4:13:51

3. DUCHESNE, Antoine (Bontrager) 4:13:51

4. BRITTON, Rob (Raleigh) 4:13:53 +0:02

5. ROUTLEY, Will (Accent Jobs-Wanty) 4:13:54 +0:03

6. MEIER, Christian (Orica-GreenEDGE) 4:14:04 +0:13

7. COOPER, Marsh (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) 4:14:14 +0:23

8. PERRON, Jean Sébastien (Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery) 4:17:11 +3:20

9. PELLETIER-ROY, Rémi (Équipe cycliste Garneau-Quebecor) 4:17:22 +3:31

10. NAUD, Pierrick (Équipe cycliste Garneau-Quebecor) 4:17:22 +3:31

U23 Men

1. DUCHESNE, Antoine (Bontrager) 4:13:51

2. NAUD, Pierrick (Équipe cycliste Garneau-Quebecor) 4:17:22

3. WIGHT, Stuart (Team New Brunswick) 4:24:52