Kiwi climber Bennett signs contract with Cannondale Pro Cycling
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kiwi climber Bennett signs contract with Cannondale Pro Cycling

by Shane Stokes at 6:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Twenty three year old moves across from RadioShack Leopard, wants to ride a Grand Tour in 2014

George BennettAfter spending two years with RadioShack Leopard and netting a promising eighth overall in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge this season, George Bennett has inked a deal to compete with Cannondale Pro Cycling in 2014.

The 23 year old climber, who was second in the New Zealand national championships this season, describes the move to Cannondale as a huge opportunity.

“I have always admired the way they race and the way they win. I am really excited to be a part of that next year. I think there is a wealth of experience in the staff and riders that I can tap into and keep making big steps forward.”

He’s moving from a team which is primarily English speaking to one which has more of an Italian flavour and culture. That’s not something which he finds offputting. “It is a road less travelled by other riders from my side of the world but that’s the road I have taken since I started racing as an amateur,” he explained. “It’s also a chance to experience a new culture, learn a new language and make new friends.”

Team CEO and manager Roberto Amadio regards the tall, thin rider as one with much promise for the future.

“We are excited to have George join our team. He is a very good young talent who we look forward to working with and helping him to continue his development as a pro bike rider,” he said. “As a good climber, he can continue to develop here and show himself well in some of the hillier races.”

Bennett is one of the riders who was left exposed when the Leopard Trek team took the decision not to continue in 2014. While he had other possibilities, his agent Andrew McQuaid has said that the team he is going to represented the best choice.

“After a very tough transfer season, it is with some relief that we got this deal agreed. There were several teams with varying interest in George, but Cannondale were very keen from the beginning of the negotiation process,” he said.

“It took a bit of time to finalise the contract, but now we are all looking forward to seeing George continue to develop his obvious climbing talent in what is undoubtedly a great team.”

Having done the Giro d’Italia in 2013, Bennett has his eyes set on riding a second three week race next season. As a result, wants to build up gradually and ensure that his condition is as solid as possible when it counts.

“I’m expecting a slightly slower start to my schedule in 2014; the focus will be on performing strongly in stage races through March,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes last season and next year my goal is to be part of a successful Grand Tour.

“I hope to play an important role in team victories and when the opportunity presents itself, take a chance for a personal result.”

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