Roadie Alex Candelario races Colorado ’cross weekend for World Bicycle Relief

Kelly Benefit Strategies roadie Alex Candelario races under the World Bicycle Relief banner at two Colorado cyclocrosses.

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A veteran roadie was one of the revelations of the North American Cyclocross Trophy weekend in Boulder, Colorado. Alex Candelario, riding under the flag of World Bicycle Relief, finished fifth in Saturday’s Colorado Cross Classic and battled back from an early crash to run 13th on the technical Boulder Cup course Sunday.

“I really wanted to promote the message of World Bicycle Relief,” said Candelario, who hadn’t finished a UCI cyclocross event in nearly a decade before the weekend. “I had the privilege of going to Africa and seeing the kind of stuff they do. I just thought this was the best way to spread the message about the organization. It’s a really good crowd and receptive to that message.”

World Bicycle Relief, created by SRAM and Trek Bicycles, provides large-scale assistance to developing communities in need of bicycles for utility transportation. Candelario’s Kelly Benefit Strategies road team has worked with the organization in recent years.

The racing plan came together in August and Candelario pointed to a number of sponsors making the project a reality.

“John Kelly, Stevens, Lazer, Smith and Sidi all helped out tremendously to throw it together at the last minute,” he said. “SRAM really stepped up and got behind me and that really made a big difference to get in there and start duking it out.”

On Saturday, Candelario used long power sections to move from the back of the grid to fifth at the Boulder Reservoir.

“I had no idea I’d do this well today,” he said. “I’m stoked.” Second place Tim Johnson ( patted Candelario on the back at the finish and welcomed him “to the party.”

As for his road career, the 35-year-old said that his focus remains on the tarmac, but he’ll enjoy as much knobby tire action as he can this fall.

“Road’s still my main priority,” he said. “Road’s still my priority, but ’cross will always be in my heart and I’ll always do it.”

Candelario planned to race the national circuit through nationals in December. “I’ll just do whatever I can,” he said. “If I could get a podium at ’cross nationals that would be totally amazing. I’d be ecstatic.”

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