Australia's top Continental and National Road Series (NRS) team IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness has announced from 2018 it will be known as Bennelong SwissWellness Cycling Team p/b Cervelo.
Bennelong Funds Management, a financial services company, is the latest naming rights sponsor for the team which started as Praties in 2000. Previous riders on the team include Richie Porte, Nathan Haas, Jack Haig and Chris Hamilton which has built a reputation for its ability to develop riders for the WorldTour.
Along with the announcement of its new sponsor, the team has also named Brendon Davids (Oliver's), Dylan Sunderland and Ayden Toovey (NSWIS), Tristan Ward (Tineli Powerstream) as its first signings for the 2018 season.
12-months on from facing collapse due to a funding shortfall, team manager Steve Price expressed his delight with the addition of Bennelong as a new sponsor. Adding the Cycling Australia initiative from 2018 to include five riders from the top NRS team in the UniSA-Australia Tour Down Under proved crucial in sealing the deal with Bennelong.
"Bennelong is an Australian company that is making waves in the financial world, they are very savvy and good at thinking outside the box. The new CA initiative that grants the top Continental team in Australia a start at the TDU is a big step forward and something we have been pushing for for a long time. Bennelong can see the extra value in the TDU and we think it's a great incentive for all Australian teams," said Price. "Having a non-industry partner increases our reach and adds value to our whole sponsor group, we are confident that with Bennelong's help the team will step up another level in 2018. We are proud to have them on board and look forward to a productive and successful partnership."
Although the final roster for 2018 is to be formalised in the coming weeks, the team has quickly moved to secure a quartet of young riders who have impressed in the NRS across recent seasons.
"Dylan is a good climber that can also pack a surprising punch. He is dangerous from a small group, while Ayden is more of a rouleur who can do a bit of everything," High Performance Director Mark Fenner explained of the new signings. "Tristan is a sprint/leadout rider that can put out big watts. These guys are all very capable, but I think we will still see a lot of improvement out of them as we progress into 2018."
"Brendon's ride at Battle was impressive to say the least," added team director Andrew Christie-Johnston of the South African. "We probably would have given him a go on the strength of that alone as his endurance is very good for such a young guy. We've had a few mountain bikers on the team before and they all turned out pretty well so we hope Brendon will add to that list. I am really happy with how the whole roster is coming together; this could be our best team ever!"
In 2017, IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness again secured the NRS team classification and individual double with Michael Freiberg. The team also won 12 UCI races in New Zealand, Malaysia, Korea, Hungry and China with Scott Sunderland and Joe Cooper the most successful its riders.