McKinney Man Competes in Tour de France

Chad Haga is a support rider on Team Sunweb

From her living room in McKinney, DeLayne Haga catches up on the latest stage of the 2018 Tour de France, the way perhaps only a mother can.

"My younger son makes fun of me because I watch to see Chad, I don't watch the race. I just watch to look for my son," Haga said.

She navigates a DVR recording of Sunday's run and points out where her son, 29-year-old Chad Haga, is riding at the front in the breakaway.

"They had a lot of crashes today. They're going over cobblestones," she explained. "Very dangerous."

Chad Haga, a Texas native who graduated from McKinney High School, has competed in seven other Grand Tours. This is Haga's first Tour de France, competing as a support rider on Team Sunweb.

Just two and a half years ago, Haga survived a horrific crash during a training ride in Europe.

DeLayne Haga said a British woman, driving on the wrong side of the road while in Spain, hit six members of Team Giant-Alpecin during a training ride. DeLayne Haga said Chad was airlifted to a hospital where he spent two days in intensive care to repair veins and arteries in his neck and face. He also suffered an eye socket fracture, but pressed on after his release from the hospital.

"He worked so hard and he was back racing again two months later," DeLayne Haga said. "He didn't want the accident to decide that would be the end of his career, he wanted to be the one to decide when he quits cycling."

The Haga family suffered another blow the same year when Chris Haga, Chad's father and DeLayne's husband, died.

DeLayne Haga said her husband never smoked and was blindsided by a stage 4 cancer diagnosis.

Chris Haga, who also got into cycling to spend time with Chad and his brother, encouraged Chad at a pivotal point in his career.

In 2010, Chad was offered a job at Texas Instruments. The Texas A&M graduate had a degree in mechanical engineering and had also been approached by two semi-pro cycling teams.

Chris Haga told his son to follow his dreams.

"Go for it. He said, 'I know you'll make it' and he has. Chris would be so happy and so proud," DeLayne Haga said. "His dad had given him the blessing to do this. I think he's doing it for his dad too."

DeLayne Haga, an author, published a book her late husband wrote about his cancer fight called "Cancer on Two Wheels." In it, he described the conversation with his son.

"I didn't want Chad to ever have to wonder, 'What if?' I called him later that day and told him that now was the time for him to go for it," Chris Haga wrote. "Cancer has taught me to pursue the dreams while they're fresh."

"I have no doubt he will make it," he went on to write.

On Sunday, DeLayne Haga watched the Tour de France for the both of them.

"Chris would want to see this," she said.

"This is the epitome of what every cyclist dreams of once they start cycling," DeLayne Haga said. "He's finally reaching his dream."

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