Bennelong SwissWellness complete 2018 roster with Von Hoff and Porter signings

Australian Continental team strengthens squad for new year

Top Australian Continental team Bennelong SwissWellness has confirmed its 2018 roster with the signings of Steele von Hoff and Alex Porter.

Von Hoff returns to the squad which launched his WorldTour career in 2011. Following stints with Garmin-Sharp, then NFTO and ONE Pro Cycling in the UK, the 29-year-old will be key a sprinter for Bennelong SwissWellness across 2018.

Porter, who recently won the Australian madison title with Rohan Wight, will balance his track and road ambitions in 2018 and also packs a fast finish.

The team had previously announced the signings of Brendon Davids, Dylan Sunderland, Ayden Toovey and Tristan Ward, along with new co-title sponsor Bennelong. The outgoing riders from the 2017 team are Pat Lane, Neil Van Der Ploeg, Robbie Hucker and Jeremy Cameron.

"I'm really excited to be back with my first team, it feels like home. They have a killer race program which will give me plenty of opportunity to prove myself and return to the top level of the sport. It's going to be great," von Hoff said of signing with Bennelong SwissWellness.

As the top National Road Series (NRS) team across the 2017 season, Bennelong SwissWellness can field five riders in the UniSA-Australia wildcard team at next month's Tour Down Under. A stage winner with UniSA-Australia in 2015, von Hoff could return for the 20th edition of the stage race.

Although Porter will be focused on the track for the majority of the early-season, team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston explained the U23 national criterium champion is a rider for the future.

"I spoke with Simon Jones and Tim Decker at Gippsland about what
was going on with their guys," Christie-Johnston said of Cycling Australia's head of high performance and national men's track endurance squad respectively. "I mentioned I might be interested in Alex and it sort of morphed from there. He's on the radar for Commonwealth Games selection on the track but also really keen to test his legs on the road in Asia and Europe. I think he will fit in really well."

In 2017, the team enjoyed stage wins and the overall at the New Zealand Cycle Classic to start its season, along with the national new Zealand road title via Joe Cooper. The team also enjoyed international success at Le Tour de Langkawi. Tour de Korea, Tour de Hongrie and Tour of China I and II. Along with the top NRS team award, Michael Freiberg won the overall individual NRS rider prize for 2017.

Bennelong SwissWellness for 2018: Anthony Giacoppo, Michael Freiberg, Scott Sunderland, Chris Harper, Cam Bayly, Alex Porter, Tim Roe, Brendon Davids, Joe Cooper, Sean Lake, Sam Crome, Jason Lea, Steele Von Hoff, Alastair Christie-Johnston, Nathan Elliott, Ayden Toovey, Dylan Sunderland, Tristan Ward and Scott Bowden. 

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