Jonny Bellis without a team for 2012, vows to battle onwards
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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Jonny Bellis without a team for 2012, vows to battle onwards

by Shane Stokes at 3:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Chance to show what he can do dashed as Saxo Bank SunGard ends his season

Update: click here to read Jonny's full blog

Jonny BellisAs the 2011 season nears a close, British rider Jonny Bellis is facing uncertainty and frustration due to the lack of a contract for next year. His Saxo Bank SunGard team told him several weeks ago that it wouldn’t be extending his contract, and his efforts since then to build form and show what he can do has been foiled by a changed racing programme.

His plan was to work as hard as possible and then ride well in his final races of the season. That now won’t happen, leaving him in a difficult position and with no way to show what he can do.

“I was down for Franco-Belge [now called the Tour de Wallonie Picarde – ed.] and a one day race after that,” he told VeloNation today in his latest blog entry for this site. “As I’ve been training in Italy all year, I thought I’d come to Majorca for a change and to train here instead. I did that, I got in some good training and felt that I was going well. That was important for me as I wanted to do good performances in my last few races of the year.

“Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. I was due to leave Majorca on Wednesday but then I got a call Monday to say I was not riding Franco-Belge, as another rider from Saxo Bank needs the preparation for Lombardy. Essentially that’s my season over, as I don’t have any races left.”

The situation is a blow for Bellis, as he knows showing good form in his final races would have made the team search easier.

The Manx competitor highlighted his talent early on with European titles plus third in the world under 23 road race championships in 2007. He secured a trial with the CSC/Saxo Bank team in mid 2008 and again underlined that potential when he finished sixth and seventh on stages of the Tour of Britain at just twenty years of age.

However his career and life were threatened in September 2009 when he had a bad scooter crash, causing serious injuries, a coma, lengthy hospitalisation and a big battle to return to the sport. He’s ridden several races this year but these have been many weeks apart, making it very difficult to have the necessary sharpness to get through the events.

Missing Franco Belge is a blow, and so too the theft of his training bike from his hotel in Majorca on Friday. “To be frank, it is a bit of a kick in the teeth after paying to come here, committing myself and doing some good training in a different area,” he stated. “I was really motivated for the race, and especially with not having a contract for next year, I wanted to try to prove I am worth something.”

Bellis vows to keep looking for a slot for next year, being convinced that a good, consistent racing programme can see him finally get back to top form. He hopes that his agent Paul de Geyter can secure him a place on a team, giving him the chance he needs.

Click here for Jonny's complete blog entry, where he gives his full thoughts...


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