At the end of the 2016 season, Brenton Jones stepped down from Pro Continental level to Continental level with JLT Condor. After two seasons with the Drapac squad, Jones was looking to step up into the WorldTour but found himself in the third tier for 2017.
After arguably his best season to date, Jones will be back in the Pro Continental ranks from 2018 with Delko Marseille Provence KTM with his move to the British JLT Condor squad paying off.
Jones' move to the French Pro Continental squad was helped along by his new management VeloFutur as he explained the background to the deal.
"From the very start of the season they expressed their interest in trying to find something for me in 2018 that the next level where I want to be," Jones told Cyclingnews. "From the start, John Herety [JLT Condor team manger] was on board with my decisions and plans. He would love to keep me on for next year as well but at the same time, would love to see me go onto bigger and better things. That's how it has worked out with the help of VeloFutur and my manger Jorge. It is a team that is going to suit me well and has a long background in the sport and has a good calendar."
With Delko Marseille Provence KTM securing starts at WorldTour races Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, Critérium du Dauphiné, and Bretagne Classic Ouest France in 2017, the team calendar was a major attraction for Jones.
"As a professional cyclist, I think I need to challenge myself more and have more experience and opportunities in these kinds of races and they are in France, Spain and also some of the classics in Belgium. And still feature in a few races in Asia where I've performed well," said Jones. "Their calendar is very broad and they are in the heart of European cycling. It's a massive French team and to get amongst that and do some of the races that I have seen them do is quite big. That is a big goal of mine next weeks."
A stage winner at the tours of Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Hainan, Jones has been successful on the Asian circuit but is aiming to transfer that success to Europe from 2018. And with the team on the up and expressing its desire to go WorldTour in the future, Jones is aiming to hit the ground running next year.
"There are a few things in the pipeline for what we want to do in the following years and it's about committing hard to Delko next year and really showing them that I can perform at that level and get results," he said. "Which is what they've signed me up for. Whatever comes after that is going to be for a reason. I would still like to continue to step up and whether that is Delko in 2019, fantastic, and if it is someone else and I keep progressing to the top tier that would be fantastic. A one-year deal is a fantastic opportunity for me and Delko to work together and get some results on the board."
Tour of Britain focus
Having tasted success this season on British soil at the Grand Prix Series and races like the London Rapha Nocturne criterium, Jones is looking to finish his season with JLT Condor on a high at the Tour of Britain. Not just for personal glory but to repay the faith shown in him by Herety.
"John Herety has thrown me a lifeline. There are a number of teams that maybe were thinking about me and didn't at the end of the day, I think it is their loss," said Jones. "I am really happy that I've put the colours on of JLT Condor and got the wins on the board for John. I've shown him that I can get results and he has believed in me from the start. So have my teammates and I've had a great year. It's probably been the funnest year that I've had on a bike so far."
Whereas in previous years, JLT Condor has focused on the breakaways and GC, the team is backing in Jones and Alex Frame for the sprint stages across the eight days.
"I think we have a very quick team with myself and Alex Frame. I think we'll get amongst it in the sprints and we'll have a strong lead out to support us," said Jones, whose family will travel from Australia to watch him race. "We have fast guys and we have guys who can mix and match at that level. It is a good start list and a few good sprinters coming so it will be a great experience but at the same time, I have matured a lot and I have a lot of experience. The team is ready and roaring to go and know what I can do. I think together with all that combined, and some good preparation leading into the tour and course recon, we could up there challenging for a win."