Chad Haga will return to the team where his professional career began. After racing in the WorldTour for eight years, the 33-year-old from McKinney, Texas signs from Team DSM and completes the men’s team’s roster for 2022.
A peerless rouleur, time-trialist and support rider during his time with WorldTeams, Haga now hopes to “reignite the spark of racing” and pursue his own results on a ProTeam program, a changeup that will allow him to “be in it to win it.”
The American was on Rally Cycling from 2012 through 2013 (then called Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and won a stage of the Tour of Elk Grove before making the jump up to WorldTour with Team Giant – Shimano in 2014.
“It feels like my career has come full circle,” Haga said. “I had a lot to learn when I first started and the team helped me and then ushered me off into a bigger program at the WorldTour where I spent eight years getting stronger, wiser and more experienced. Now I get to bring that back to the team, which has also grown in the years since. I’m excited to see what we can do together.”
Haga’s successes in that time can be measured by the results he helped others achieve. In that time, he helped teammates win Milan-San Remo and the Giro d’Italia, and rode a total of 12 Grand Tours, finding his own personal victory in 2019 when he won the final day Giro TT in Verona. So, what made 2022 the right time to come back to where his professional dream began?
“I’ve spent eight years as a support rider in the DSM organization, but I want to enjoy racing as much as I did at the beginning of my career,” Haga explains. “I think this is a great way to kick that off because I’ve watched Rally Cycling race really aggressively for the last few seasons with a lot of success and I’m eager to be a part of that.”
Making the move to the ProTour means less WorldTour racing for the American but it brings a newfound freedom to be able to target his own goals.
“It gives me the opportunity to really push myself to achieve a result. I was always motivated to be in top form and to perform but to have the chance to be the guy going for results, it lights an extra fire in the training and the racing, you can really get in it,” Haga added.
With the return to ProTour being a defining marker in his career, what would Haga say to his 25-year-old departing self?
“Prepare to be humbled but you’re going to have a great time and you’ll surprise yourself along the way as well.”
Haga’s return to the organization is one welcomed by performance manager Jonas Carney, who remembers him as a talented rider and consummate professional.
“It was an obvious choice to bring Chad back,” Carney said. “He’s a monster on the bike and an awesome person who will fit right into our group.”
Carney is also excited to see the experiences Haga can bring to the program.
“There is no doubt that he can help our younger riders progress more quickly. He’s also capable of producing results himself when given the opportunity.
“Chad will be a leader in our team, but he will also be given opportunities to target races that suit him,” Carney added.
The team looks forward to re-welcoming Haga to its line-up for 2022. This also brings an end to the men’s team signings for next season. Their first official gathering will be a training camp in Portugal this January.
Men’s team roster 2022
Arvid de Kleijn
Adam de Vos
— Oskar Scarsbrook to rallycycling.com