A double blow has been taken by the New Zealand national team with LottoNL-Jumbo’s George Bennett and sea level world hour record holder Jaime Nielsen both forced out of the UCI World Road Championships which begin on Sunday.
Outstanding rider George Bennett has confirmed his withdrawal from the New Zealand team for the UCI Road Cycling World Championships starting in Norway. Bennett has not recovered sufficiently from a virus that forced his withdrawal initially from the Tour de France, when he was among the leading contenders, and then from the Vuelta á Espana after his illness flared again.
“The last few weeks has been a real battle with the virus that took me out of the Tour and pushing myself too hard for the Vuelta was not a good option,” Bennett said. “In the end I wasn’t getting better and instead of risking the big goals for next year my team wanted me to stop.
“I’m not able to get to worlds in the condition needed to make an impact and so it’s best to pull out.”
Added to that is the fact that New Zealand track team member Jaime Nielsen has also been forced to withdraw from the women’s time trial due to illness in her build-up in Europe. Nielsen recently set the fastest sea level time for the one-hour time trial at the Avantidrome in Cambridge.
There will be no replacements for either rider for the individual time trial, with 11 riders to compete in the championships which begin on Sunday local time for the Team Time Trial among professional teams.