"I wanted to prove I'm not here as someone asking for retirement handouts" - Chad Haga reflects on his second place in Unbound gravel debut

Chad Haga spent ten years in the professional peloton on the road, but after his retirement at the end 2023, it was time for a new adventure. For the American, gravel was a natural choice. And that the 35-year-old didn't come to play around he confirmed in his debut Unbound gravel, finishing second only to Lachlan Morton.

"It's a relief," Haga said after Unbound. "It's my first year racing gravel, it's a big fight to try and get sponsorships, and I've got a few key ones, but a result like this will help prove that I'm not a roadie that came to gravel for a retirement. I very much enjoy this."

"I knew that the field was so deep and strong that it would not work well for me to attack super early," Haga told Cyclingnews. "I needed guys to wear themselves out a bit. My tactic was to weather the storm and wait for the moment that guys started showing signs of fatigue, and then see if I could get out front."

"I could sense the power that I could do. Once I was out front with Lachlan, I didn't need to consult a power meter to hold the same pace. I knew what I could hold and just kind of did it by the fact of having done it many times before." In the end, it was not meant to be for Haga, as he lost to Morton in the final sprint.

Haga was not the first nor the last ex-pro coming to gravel for career after a career and thus financial backing didn't come by automatically. "I was having trouble getting sponsorships, because at that point I was just another retired roadie racing gravel, asking for money. And so I wanted to prove I'm not here as someone asking for retirement handouts, I'm here to race seriously, and I'm very capable at it."

"I'm committed to doing gravel at least one more year. Like, I'm not ready to be done racing. I'm very much enjoying gravel, but I also have a young family, and so trying to balance all of that, but I'm not doing it just as a way to not stop competing."

Read more about:
Cycling Unbound Gravel Chad Haga

Place comments



More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments