George Bennett will line up for the 2019 Tour de France. The Kiwi who holds the record for highest GC placing for a New Zealander at a grand tour, will return to the race he last rode in 2017 where he spent four days inside the top ten overall.
It’s been a season of highs and lows for George in 2019 so far. From a strong start to the season in Napier at Elite Road Nationals, the season gradually built to a crescendo through the Australian campaign that featured 6th place in stage 4 of the Santos Tour Down Under. His European campaign got off to a great start with 6th overall at Paris-Nice, before an uneasy performance at Itzulia Basque Country left Bennett eager to make things right at the Amgen Tour of California; the race he achieved his first overall World Tour triumph in back in 2017.
In California Bennett was strong throughout, taking two top ten stage finishes – including third in the stage to Mount Baldy – on his way to finishing 4th overall.
Bennett’s last outing at the Tour de France was well and truly a rock and roll ride. From the delight of breaking into the top ten in the Tour de France, there was then the controversy that saw Bennett handed a 20 second time penalty after an illegal refreshment was taken on inside the final 20km of stage 12 where he placed 8th. That penalty that was handed out to both him and Rigoberto Uran was later withdrawn, before the Kiwi climber’s condition faded and he abandoned the Tour in stage 16.
This year’s Tour de France will see Bennett play the role of super domestique in the mountains to teammate Steven Kruijswijk. Jumbo-Visma will be adopting a two-pronged attack courtesy of Kruijswijk in the mountains and Dylan Groenewegen in the sprints and this makes them one of the most exciting teams to watch because of their strong support cast.
While George Bennett will be a thrill to watch in the mountains as he assists Kruijswijk – with the Dutchman not having finished outside of the top 6 in stage races so far this season – Dylan Groenewegen will have the support of four-time world time trial champion Tony Martin and cyclocross star Wout Van Aert.
At just 24 years of age Van Aert has taken like a duck to water to the road to the point where he has earned a Tour de France call up, impressive given that the three-time world cyclocross champion is in just his first year at World Tour level.
The season has seen the Belgian go from strength to strength with podium finishes on four occasions in Strade Bianche, E3 BinckBank and in both of the Criterium du Dauphiné’s bunch sprint finishes so far. While his race calendar on the road has been rather light so far, with just 11 race days to his name so far; team management feel that he has the attributes to be an asset to the team across three weeks of racing.
The Tour de France begins next month on the 6th July with a Grand Depart in Brussels. The Jumbo-Visma line up for the Tour de France is:
Wout van Aert
Amund Grondahl Jansen
Laurens De Plus