George Bennett: “Catalunya is a race I’d love to target”

By @pmpalermo

Why you signed for one year with Cannondale?

Theres a lot of “unknowns” on both sides, for me it’s hard to know if I will adapt 100% to a completely new culture and team set up, for them it’s the same; how I will fit into their team environment with only 2 other english speakers. I don’t think it will be a problem at all, I am making good progress with my italian and so far the team seems very welcoming and accommodating. It’s a one year deal with intentions of being on the team a lot longer.

Did you think that you were not going to get a new team when Trek released you?(because of the crisis)

No, I was confident I’d find a spot in the pro tour. If you are young and have shown that you have a good engine then directors can see your potential,  I had a lot of contact with different teams all through the season and made an agreement with a team in August, when that didn’t work I found myself in a bad situation but I had a good manager and was confident I would find something. I’m really happy it was a team that I really wanted to be a part of.

Do you still want to develop as a stage racer? Can you improve and become a grand tour contender?

yes, 100%, I’m still learning to keep it together for a whole race but stage racing and eventually grand tours are the  biggest goal in my career.  My dream is to be a contender one day.

What are your objectives for 2014? What does team want from you?

My first objective is to continue on the improvement path I’m on. Last year I showed flashes of being good in stage races, this year I fought for some top tens and next year I want to be fighting for the podiums. I think with the team we have at Cannondale next year we have the potential to win a lot of races and I want to play an important team role in as many of those victories as I can.

Do you know your calendar or at least a part of it? Will you lead the team in some races?

Yes, for the first part of the season I will start with the New Zealand national championships and then Tour Down Under. I will return to Europe for Paris-Nice,  with the end of November and most of December spent in Europe it will be a lot slower start to the year than last year, I think I can be good down under but maybe not the same as last year. However I’m stronger in general than I was last year so maybe I can fight for a podium.

Do you have a favourite race where you want to do well?

Yes, I think this year Catalunya is a race I’d love to target and the big goal at the start of  first half of the year is the Giro. I think it’s an important race for my development. I also love racing in the US, so an opportunity to go back to utah and colorado would also be really nice.

There´s a lot of talent in Cannondale..is that convenient for you?

With the situation in pro cycling now, every team has a lot of talent, but I believe being in a strong team like Cannondale is helpful because when you have a strong team at a race you are able to play many cards and force others into bad situations. Success is contagious and riders who are winning lift the strength of the riders around them.

Pablo Martín Palermo

@pmpalermo                                             
 
pmpalermo@hotmail.com 

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