Chad Haga heads (back) to the Rally
After eight years of racing at WorldTour level with various iterations of the team now known as DSM, Chad Haga returns to the team he left in 2013. Rally, which was then a UCI continental team known as Optum -Kelly Benefit Strategies and has since moved to the second division, signed a one-year contract with Haga.
Speaking to CyclingTips this week, Haga said he was eager to return to the organization that saw him first taste professional cycling racing.
âWhen I left the team eight years ago, we left on very good terms. I had a great time in the team and learned a lot,â Haga said. âThey wanted too. which was best for me. I vividly remember a conversation at the Red Roof Inn in Silver Dollar City during the Tour of the Gila where Jonas [Carney, team manager] and Mike Creed were talking to me saying, you can stay and run in Europe and make more money here than you get in the next couple of years, but you have to go to Europe. The fact that my boss encouraged me to take the plunge and leave his team showed how positive this environment was. “
Haga, 33, joined then-team Giant-Shimano, but he leaves a veteran behind. He returns to the Rally with a wealth of experience and a stage victory of the Grand Tour on the palmares of his career; Haga won a time trial stage at the 2019 Giro d’Italia.
As always, Haga’s goal will be to âwin races, help his teammates win racesâ in his new team, although this team tends to take a different approach than he is used to at DSM.
âI really enjoyed watching them race this year,â Haga said of the rally. âThe style of racing they do, and I want to do it, and I hope I am successful doing it too. I just want to go out there and have fun racing, and I hope the results follow. . “
Haga’s move marks the end of an eight-year stint with DSM, and it also happens to come at a time when the team sees more of a high-profile departure. Tiesj Benoot is rumored to join the very long list of big names leaving the team early, while youngster Ilan Van Wilder has reportedly taken the team to court because he also wants to leave. Haga is however on the move at the end of his contract. He told CyclingTips that he and DSM are parting ways “on good terms”.
âWe are mutually happy to say that this is good for our association. I think it has run its course, âhe said. âI was at a point in my career where I was looking for something different and I think they felt it too. I just needed a change of pace.
During his time at DSM, Haga went from a promising player to an established professional, starting 12 Grands Tours – including two Tours de France – for the team. Along the way, he learned valuable lessons which he will take with him when he returns to the organization of the Rally.
âThe biggest lessons areâ¦ you have to trust the process, get the job done, focus on the things you can control, and eventually it will all come true. You will get to where you need to go, âhe said.
âIt’s too hard a job if you’re not having fun, and there are many ways to stop being fun. I’m just wandering around there, but it’s kind of a lifelong picture as well. Your life should be balanced and not get too lost in it, as it can suck your life out if you allow it.
Haga is convinced that his change of scenery – to a new environment where he knows he can thrive – will help him enjoy life in the pro peloton.
âI always thought that later in my career it would be a lot of fun to come back to the team,â he said. âIn that vision I expected there to be more races in America and want to stay more in America, but I think it’s really cool that the Rally has grown and is now basically a full-time European team. Europe is where I like to run the most anyway. I like that it comes together.