Bellis on lookout for new team and fresh chance in 2013
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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Bellis on lookout for new team and fresh chance in 2013

by Shane Stokes at 1:52 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Manxman hoping for a slot as comeback continues

Jonny BellisFormer world under 23 road race bronze medallist Jonny Bellis is looking for a new team for 2013, with the British rider hoping for some support in his ongoing bid to return to his best form.

Still just 24 years of age, the Manxman was supposed to race with the An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team this year but states that he got very little support. He was given a training bike to use and some race wheels, and advised to do smaller Belgian races as he sought to build up form. However other than that, he says he was essentially on his own.

Speaking to VeloNation at the launch earlier this year, team management said that he would be given time to try to come back to a high level. They said that his slot there wouldn’t be limited to just one season, but he says that’s effectively what has happened.

Bellis has been on the back foot since a very heavy moped crash in September 2009 left him in a coma and, after a tough two seasons with the Saxo Bank team, he moved on last autumn.

He’s now on the lookout again for a squad and hopes to be given a chance to prove himself.

“There is nothing really concrete at the minute, but there’s a few teams on the radar,” he said, speaking of possibilities. “My management people are trying to sort all that out. I am just letting them do their thing and hopefully sooner rather than later something will come up.

“It would be great to have an idea what I am doing. At the minute I am just sitting in the unknown, which is not the best. It would be pretty good to find out something, as that would rest the mind and give me a bit of focus on getting ready for next year.”

It’s been a frustrating three years for the rider. One big complication for Bellis at Saxo Bank was the fact that he was returning from a bad injury and was short of race fitness, yet was only given very limited opportunities to race. He said that the infrequent programme meant that he was not sharp, and when he was put into the events, the standard of the races was too high for him to be able to hit the ground running.

This created a vicious circle of not performing as the team wanted, being sidelined as a result and then not having the racing to bring him on.

In order to overcome that, the plan this year was to do smaller races in Belgium and to gradually step up his level. Looking back, he feels that there was a steady progression, and this has made him more optimistic for the future.

“At the beginning of the season I was struggling to finish races,” he admitted, “then I was starting to finish them. After that I was finishing in the main peloton, then as time went on I could achieve some sort of results, like top 20, top 15. There was a continuous progression.

“An important result personally was when I got a top 15 in one Kermesse. It was nothing major, but it made me pretty confident.”

Bellis hopes to continue that trajectory next season and to be able to eventually deliver on the talent which earned him that bronze medal in the 2007 Under 23 worlds.

He recently went on holiday in order to unwind, then came back fully motivated to train again. While he’s likely to remain living in Belgium next year, he has returned to the Isle of Man for the winter and will log his training miles there with some well known riders.

“I’ll probably be here until the end of February,” he told VeloNation. “It works out pretty well, the roads are much harder to train on that Belgium is and there is always a good group going around. I’ll be training with the likes of Ben Swift and Peter Kennaugh..there will be a good banter going.”

In the meantime, his agent will keep looking around for a team which can give him a slot. He’s hoping for a show of faith plus an opportunity to prove what he can do.

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