Hayden Roulston edges teammate George Bennett to win the 2013 New Zealand road national championships in Christchurch
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Kiwi's stock buoyed by results in Utah, Colorado
While second-year RadioShack Leopard professional George Bennett won't be a part of his current team's new iteration, Trek, in 2014, the 23-year-old Kiwi told Cyclingnews that he definitely will have a roster spot on a WorldTour squad next year.
"I'll be somewhere in the WorldTour, just where yet I'm not sure," Bennett told Cyclingnews in Denver, Colorado, at the conclusion of the USA Pro Challenge. "I'll know in the next week.
"I had a really bad spring and Giro and that sort of set me back a bit. Now teams see I'm healthy again so I'm talking with my manager and we're talking to a few teams.
"There are teams here that can see me race and my team's been really good. The guys know I needed a result in the last two weeks and have all looked after me well."
Bennett started his pro career in 2011 with the Trek-Livestrong development team, and was called up to Team RadioShack as a trainee for the latter part of the season. His first two races with RadioShack were the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Challenge, and along with solid results earlier in that year, victory at the Tour of Wellington and 2nd overall at the Ronde de l'Isard, Bennett was called up to RadioShack for 2012.
Bennett rode his first Grand Tour in 2013, the Giro d'Italia, and has worked as a domestique for teammate Robert Kiserlovski in the Giro and Tour de Romandie.
Bennett has shown good form of late, first at the Tour of Utah and then in Colorado at the USA Pro Challenge, which ended Sunday. The New Zealander placed 11th overall in Utah, including a 4th place result on the summit finish of the queen stage to Snowbird, and continued to put his climbing acumen on display at the seven-day USA Pro Challenge, replete with a bevy of high-altitude ascents.
Bennett's campaign in Colorado was hampered, however, by his involvement in a high-speed crash in the stage 3 finale into Steamboat Springs. Nonetheless, he managed to secure his best general classification result, eighth overall, of his nascent two-year professional career.
"I came with a top-five ambition so it's good and bad, but it could be worse," said Bennett. "There's a lot of little things where I look back and think 'I could have improved here' but you always think that.
"It was good but I don't feel my results reflect where I physically was at. I didn't really think I got the best out of myself in maybe the way I raced or the race unfolded. Plus having the crash, I don't know how much that affected me but the next day I missed the front group with Tommy D. I made the initial selection but just couldn't hang on."
There's still some more racing to be done this season, however, and more opportunities to showcase his talent. Included on his upcoming schedule are the two WorldTour one-day races in Canada, GP Quebec and GP Montreal, followed by the world championships and possibly Il Lombardia.
"I'll be in Boulder a few days and then head to the East coast down to sea level," said Bennett. "Last year I went to Canada straight from Boulder and you lose all your power at altitude and I really struggled with all the sprinting. I'm going down to sea level, get some power back and then start racing."
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