Chad Haga spent two successful years learning his trade at Optum-Kelly Benefit strategies in the US before moving to the WorldTour with Giant-Shimano in 2014. Once at the sports top level, he spent his neo-pro year learning as much as possible to ensure he remains at the top fir as long as possible.
“It’s been really staggering, much more than I could have hoped for,” Haga said in a recent interview with VeloNews. “I didn’t get the win that I was hoping for, but I learned a lot, and I am really looking forward to next year.”
Haga managed 74 race days, a solid but not remarkable number- until you take into account that he raced more than he did in 2014 than he did in 2012 and 2013 combined and then some. He also managed to ride the Vuelta a Espana and Criterium du Dauphine and the Tour of California.
He also posted three top 10s in time trials, including just missing the podium in the Vuelta a Burgos, a race that confirmed to Giant directors that he was ready to ride the Grand Tour in Spain.
“I was really surprised how well I came out of it,” Haga said of the Vuelta. “Certainly, I was tired, but I never fell off the cliff. It was pleasantly surprising.”
“At the beginning of the season, Chad was quiet, and you could see he was looking to find his place,” said Giant-Shimano sport director Lionel Marie during the Vuelta. “Now you can see he is more comfortable, and he’s much more a part of the team. Everyone is very happy with how he’s performing. He has a big future.”
Haga is currently stateside enjoying time with friends and family before he embarks on his second season with Giant-Shimano.
“There will be a lot of mountain biking in my winter,” he said. “I will be excited to race next year.”
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