Culture & Society

Q&A With Tour de France Cyclist, Texas A&M Grad Chad Haga

2010 Texas A&M graduate Chad Haga shares his journey from Aggieland to cycling's biggest stage.
By Sam Peshek, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications July 27, 2018

Chad Haga
Team Sunweb cyclist and Texas A&M University former student Chad Haga cools down after competing in the second stage of the Tour de France.

Team Sunweb


As the final stages of the Tour de France approach, 2010 Texas A&M University graduate Chad Haga took time between rubbing elbows with the world’s top cyclists, playing piano and posting his trademark #oversimpLeTour updates on Twitter to answer some questions via email about his journey from College Station to cycling’s biggest event.

The lone American on Team Sunweb ranked No. 72 overall heading into stage 19 of 21 in a field of 146 riders, making him one of the top riders out of only five American riders still competing.

Regardless of where he finishes in this year tour, he already has his sights set on the Olympics, improving for future grand tours and putting his mechanical engineering degree to use when his professional career comes to an end.

SP: How did you come about choosing Texas A&M?

CH: My parents both went to Oklahoma State, but I wanted to go somewhere in Texas. At the time, I was just getting into cycling seriously, so my biggest consideration was the quality of the engineering degree I’d be pursuing. Texas A&M was of course highly rated, and when I saw that there was also a successful and big cycling club, my decision was made.

SP: How old were you when you first got involved with competitive cycling? And why?

CH: My first race was a junior mountain bike race when I was 13. My best friend had started racing mountain bikes, and it looked like a lot of fun to a kid who’d spent his whole childhood playing on bikes.

SP: What motivated or inspired you to ride professionally?

CH: I was steadily improving and moving up through the ranks, so I saw no reason that I couldn’t reach the highest level if I continued that progression. My dad was the biggest influence in the decision to truly go for it, though. Just as graduation was approaching, I was reaching the level of the sport where racing professionally was a realistic possibility. I had an engineering job already lined up, but my dad’s unexpected cancer diagnosis was the impetus to pursue my dreams fully.

SP: Is this your first Tour de France?

CH: Yes! Cycling has three grand tours (the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España are Italy’s and Spain’s equivalents), but the Tour de France is the most widely known around the world. I’ve completed in four Giros and three Vueltas, but this is my first Tour.

SP: How different is preparing for a college club race versus the Tour de France?

CH: There’s a saying in cycling that “it never hurts any less, you just go faster.” So the basics are the same, but the hours on the bike are longer. I’m much stronger now than when I was racing collegiately, but it doesn’t hurt any less.

Chad Haga
Team Sunweb cyclist and Texas A&M University former student Chad Haga prepares to take on the third stage of the Tour de France with Sunweb teammates.

Team Sunweb


SP: What is an ultimate goal of yours as a professional cyclist?

CH: I’m living one right now, racing the Tour de France! Another is to become the Time Trial National Champion, which I narrowly missed. I’ll get it someday. I would also love to race in the Olympics.

SP: Do you picture yourself putting your engineering degree to use once your professional career has wound down?

CH: Yes, I hope that someday I can get back into the engineering world someday, preferably within the cycling industry. I’ll have been away from a desk for a long time, but will have plenty of experience with cycling technology and exceptional international experience.

SP: Are there any lessons you learned at Texas A&M that have stuck with you?

CH: The cycling team taught me much of my foundational knowledge of cycling, but also how to cooperate with and lead a wide variety of personalities with a common goal.

SP: What advice do you have for college students trying to balance their passions with academics?

CH: Be honest about what your goals are and make the appropriate sacrifices. I didn’t have much of a social life in college (although the cycling club was a great substitute!), but I had great race results and grades.

Media contact: Sam Peshek, 979-845-4680,

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