New Zealand cyclist Glen Chadwick has made a strong claim for selection for the Beijing Olympics after winning the Tour of Arkansas in the United States of America. The 31 year-old has become the first rider from the Team Type 1 to win a professional stage race.
The New Zealander wrapped up the Tour of Arkansas by finishing eighth in the 75-minute Celebrity Classic Criterium in Historic Downtown Van Buren. Chadwick won by 25 seconds overall from Predrag Prokic (Toshiba-Santo Professional Cycling Team) and Michael Lange (Jelly Belly Pro Cycling).
Chadwick's accomplishment follows a 20th place finish at the Tour de Georgia and improves his chances of selection for one of three spots in the New Zealand team for the Olympic road race in Beijing in August.
It marked a significant return for the New Zealand rider who battled ill-health earlier in the year. A bout with Epstein-Barr Virus sidelined Chadwick in February following the Tour of Langkawi in Malaysia. The life-threatening spinal virus even infected his daughter, forcing her to be hospitalized as well.
"It has been a strange season with a pretty bad few months off because my family and I were very sick," Chadwick said. "To actually pull off a result like this is amazing for myself.
"It was very tough for us to see our daughter hooked up to an I.V. all the time and her veins collapsing," he added. "It's hard to explain to a two year-old why the doctors were always sticking her with needles."
Chadwick who had not won a stage race since the Tour of Korea in 2003 dedicated the victory to his wife, Isabelle and their two-year-old daughter, Jade.
The 31-year-old won his first stage race in the United States by soloing to victory in the first two stages of the 565-mile race that featured a pair of mountain top finishes and more than 7000m of climbing.
Team Type 1 Sport Director Ed Beamon said teamwork solidified the victory from there with two other team-mates in the top 10 with Moises Aldape claiming fifth and Chris Jones ninth.