Ben Hamilton is set for new challenges in 2019 when he joins Holdsworth Zappi Racing Team over in the UK. Having spent the last three seasons in the Team Skoda Fruzio outfit, it’s time for the former U19 national road champion to take his career international. We caught up with him to find out more.
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RC: First of all a new year and a new challenge for you in 2019. Tell us about the reasons behind your move and what’s prompted the decision to move away from the New Zealand scene and head abroad.
Ben: Racing in NZ is great, but I have to be racing abroad to continue my development as a rider. Racing in Europe is the pinnacle of the road cycling scene, so it was always my goal to be racing there.
RC: What attracted you to Holdsworth Zappi Racing?
Ben: I spent five months in Europe in 2018 and investigated various team opportunities while I was there. However, the Holdsworth Zappi Racing opportunity only arose once I was back in New Zealand. It all came together very quickly about two months ago and it was a relief to have a team locked in for 2019. I’m really excited to be racing with Holdsworth Zappi Racing in 2019. The team leaders are highly experienced, they have bases in the UK and Italy and their racing calendar is one of the best in the world for a club team.
RC: You’ve plied your trade with Team Skoda Fruzio for three seasons, what will you remember about your time with the team and how you changed as a rider over 3 years?
Ben: Team Skoda Fruzio was a great stepping stone for me. They have been supporting me for the last 2 1/2 seasons through U19 and first year U23. I had some wonderful experiences with Team Skoda Fruzio, including winning the U19 Nationals Road Race, racing in Quanzhou Bay in China, and recently the Tour of Tasmania. I owe a huge thanks to Brad and Scott and all of the sponsors that support the team. They continue to provide outstanding opportunities for young NZ cyclists that wouldn’t otherwise be there.
RC: What are you looking to achieve in 2019?
Ben: 2019 with Holdsworth Zappi Racing will offer a new learning experience, with exposure to a number of UCI races. I’ll start the season off with the NZ Elite Nationals in Napier, before racing Gravel and Tar and the NZ Cycle Classic with the NZ National team. I’ll then head over to Europe in late February with my first race being in Greece in early March. I’m hoping to learn and gain a lot of experience throughout the season.
Obviously I want to perform well and achieve some good results, but I will have to see how my form is and ensure I’m fulfilling my role for the team as well. I know the experience I gained from racing in Europe this year will help me significantly. Also, being based in Europe for the whole season, I would like to race for the NZ National team in any U23 opportunities.