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Chad Haga has been a bicycle enthusiast most of his life. The Texas A&M University mechanical engineering graduate wasted no time before before joining the university cycling team as a freshman in 2006.


Ten years later, he’s racing professionally for the Giant Alpecin team in Europe. It’s been a long road filled with triumph and defeat, but it’s one that has helped forge his passion and zeal for life.

As he looks to the future, Haga hopes to combine his love of cycling with his degree in mechanical engineering.

From the classroom to the blacktop


Haga was president of Texas A&M’s cycling team — an experience that gave him a foundation for which he could continue to grow.

“The friends I made on that team are still close friends today,” he said. “It was a really valuable experience.”

In the classroom, Haga studied hard. Being an engineering student is challenging enough. Being an engineering student while also traveling all over Texas racing is even more challenging.

But Haga learned a lot in the classroom. He learned how to work as a team and learned that hard-fought dedication pays off in the end.

Racing to the top

It was Haga’s father, Chris Haga, who encouraged his son to pursue his cycling hobby professionally. The elder Haga was diagnosed with lung cancer six years ago, a surprise considering he had never smoked cigarettes. Chris Haga told his son to follow his dreams and enjoy life while he could, knowing he could always be an engineer later in life.

Chad Haga heeded his father’s advice, joining the professional Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth team, based in Colorado, in 2011.

By 2014, Haga had joined the European cycling team, Giant Alpecin, of which he is still a member. That same year, he raced in the Vuelta a Espana, an annual 23-day race that primarily winds through Spain.

Known in English as the “Tour of Spain,” the race is on par with the world famous Tour de France. In 2015, Haga competed in another popular European race — the Giro d’Italia. The “Tour of Italy” spans more than 2,000 miles and passes through Italy, France and Switzerland, taking 23 days to complete. Haga raced the Giro D’Italia again in May.

Someday he hopes to race in the Tour de France.

An accident in Spain

The 27-year old lives in Girona, Spain, the majority of the year, where he spends roughly 25 hours a week on his bike.

“It was the start of the year and we were training in Spain,” Haga said. “The weather was great, it was just a good time to get the team rolling at the start of the season.”

While training with his team, Haga was leading the pack around a curve when an elderly English driver hit them head on. Haga and five of his teammates suffered injuries as a result.

Haga was immediately taken into surgery. Photos posted to social media show the gruesome aftermath — 98 stitches to close wounds on his face, neck and chest.

“I got airlifted and had extensive wounds to my face and neck that needed quick stitches,” he said.

Against all odds, Haga survived the ordeal without any real long-term effects to his health.

“I was very focused and wasn’t going to let it hold me back,” he said.

Haga was back in the saddle exactly two months later.

“I’m eager for the chance to earn attention for my racing rather than my ability to bounce off a car, ready to attack races with a vigor that can only be attained by nearly losing the privilege altogether,” Haga wrote in his blog.

Looking ahead

Haga is back in the United States now, spending time with his family. At the end of June, Haga’s inspiration in life — his father — succumbed to cancer.

A photo on Twitter shows Haga and his brother, Shane, riding their bikes with their arms extended, holding on to their father’s bike between them. They were taking their father’s bike for a final ride.

“The roller coaster called life has been indescribably tumultuous this year,” he posted along with the photo.


 Haga said he owes his racing career to his father.

“He told me ‘You’ve got a chance to spend time racing, so do it,’” the younger Haga said.

Haga heads back to Spain soon to continue training. He’s hoping to race in the Vuelta a Espana again.

If Haga’s past is any indication of his future — he won’t let anything stand in the way of his dreams.