Jonny Bellis Video Interview: Fresh start with the An Post Sean Kelly team
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jonny Bellis Video Interview: Fresh start with the An Post Sean Kelly team

by Shane Stokes at 11:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Video
British rider making gradual progress with new squad

Jonny BellisWith his first races with the An Post Sean Kelly team fast approaching, Jonny Bellis has said that he is settling in well and feels that his condition is building. The Manxman is still trying to return to his previous level after a bad motorbike crash in September 2009. While both he and his new team acknowledge that there are months of work ahead, the consensus is that he is gradually moving in the right direction.

“Things are pretty good…I’m happy with the team and everything going on around it,” he told VeloNation during last week’s team launch in Tielt, Belgium.

“I have been really happy [with training] and I have got in a really good, consistent winter. That’s something I haven’t had since the accident, with various problems and operations. I’m a lot stronger, mentally and physically, which is really important.”

A former European Under 23 track champion and a bronze medallist at the 2007 under 23 world road race championships, Bellis was regarded as one of the most promising young British riders. He was given a trial with Saxo Bank in 2008 and a full pro contract in 2009.

However things took a different path with his accident and he ended up in a coma for some time afterwards. He then had further complications such as infections and a hernia.

Bellis had a tough time last year with his Saxo Bank team, with very intermittent racing both preventing him from building form and also proving to too tough on his system when he did get selected.

It was a vicious circle: he needed a certain level of racing to build form, but didn’t have the form for the races he did get to do.

Saxo Bank didn’t renew his contract and at one point last autumn he wasn’t sure what he was going to do in 2012. The An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team stepped in and decided to take him on, with general manager Kurt Bogaerts pledging to give him time and to support him as he works to return to top form.

So too Sean Kelly, the former world number one and current director of the team. “He is pretty supportive,” Bellis explained. “He said ‘patience, take your time, we are right behind you.’ It was great to know. With Saxo Bank, I felt pressurised to always perform. I think with my situation it wasn’t such a healthy thing. Here it is a bit more relaxed. I think it is the right thing for me.”

Bellis needs time, but knows that he has it. The plan is that he will begin racing in smaller events, having the chance to build up his mileage and intensity before moving to higher-level racing. He recognises that’s the correct way to do things.

“I can start at a lower standard and build up… I am being realistic, and will build up slowly,” he said. “I think this will be the ideal team for me, it will be good. With this team there will be a bit more understanding.”

Click the image below to watch the full interview.


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