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Haley Smith starts season with silver at Belgian Waffle Ride Arizona

Carter Nieuwesteeg leads Canadian men in the desert

Haley Smith Belgian Waffle Ride Arizona Photo by: Belgian Waffle Ride / Instagram

Haley Smith made a fantastic debut for her new Trek Driftless team on Saturday in Arizona. In a three-way-race that came down to the final miles of a 166-km day, the Ontario racer landed on the podium. Smith scored in second place at Belgian Waffle Ride Arizona, the first event in that series’ 2024 season.

Smith ended up second behind a late-charging Sofia Gomez Villafane. Coming through one of the late checkpoints, though, it was Alexis Skarda in the lead. Smith was the first to overtake, before Villafane sailed forward from third and into the lead.

The silver continues a successful run of Belgian Waffle Ride appearances for Smith. When the series made its debut in Canada, landing on Vancouver Island last summer, it was Olympic mountain biker turned mixed-discipline racer taking the win for the home crowd.

Smith wasn’t the only Canadian woman making an impression on the race. Hannah Simms, 2023 Singletrack 6 winner, finished 12th in the women’s field.

2024 Belgian Waffle Ride Arizona: Men’s racing

On the men’s side, Life Time Grand Prix champion Keegan Swenson showed he’s picking up 2024 with the same formidable form he left off the 2023 season with. The Santa Cruz racer finished over two minutes ahead of second-place Lance Haidet (Specialized). Trek Driftless earned another podium with Torbjorn Andre Roed in third.

Carter Nieuwesteeg (Santa Cruz) led the Canadian effort in 24th. Gravel national champ (and cyclocross national champ) Evan Russell followed not far behind in 3oth. Cory Wallace reversed his usual underbiking policy, racing his mountain bike in the 166-km gravel race to finish 48th.