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UAE Team Emirates add George Bennett to further boost stage racing squad

2021 New Zealand national champion George Bennett
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Another day, another signing for UAE Team Emirates, with George Bennett set to join the team in 2022 on a two-year deal.

The New Zealand national champion has ridden for Jumbo-Visma for the past seven seasons, helping Primož Roglič to back-to-back Vuelta a España titles and a Tour de France podium last year. However, he will now switch to the team of Roglič's compatriot and rival, Tadej Pogačar, who has won the past two editions of the Tour.

"I’m really excited about my move to UAE Team Emirates. I’m looking forward to helping the team reach new heights across many races," Bennett said.

"I have seen the team take huge steps forward every year and this progression is something I really want to be a part of."

Bennett turned professional with the Radioshack squad in 2012 and spent a year at Cannondale in 2014 before joining Jumbo-Visma, where his development accelerated. 

He placed 10th at the 2016 Vuelta and, after winning the 2017 Tour of California, rode an impressive Tour de France before abandoning through illness.

He placed eighth at the 2018 Giro d'Italia before slotting into more of a domestique role, primarily for Roglič. He was given leadership for this year's Giro d'Italia but struggled in the cold and wet first week and eventually finished 11th.

The 31-year-old is the latest in a string of recruits for UAE Team Emirates since the transfer window opened last week, following fellow Grand Tour candidates Joao Almeida from Deceuninck-QuickStep and Marc Soler from Movistar. 

They have also signed two sprinters in Pascal Ackermann and Alvaro Hodeg, while continuing a youth recruitment drive that includes Bennett's compatriot Finn-Fisher Black, who himself was poached from Jumbo-Visma's development squad.

"It’s also nice to link up with Finn Fisher-Black, as we both come from the same hometown in New Zealand," Bennett said. 

"There’s an exciting group of young guys coming through at UAE and it’s great to be joining that environment and bringing my experience to the team." 

Jumbo-Visma are yet to announce any signings for next year but Cyclingnews understands Rohan Dennis is set to join from Ineos Grenadiers to bolster their Grand Tour unit. 

They have already handed contract extensions to Sepp Kuss, Tobias Foss, Steven Kruijswijk, Robert Gesink, and others.

Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick joined Cyclingnews after a work experience stint in 2015 and hasn't left. Prior to that, he studied French and Spanish at university and went on to train as a journalist. Rides his bike to work but more comfortable on a football pitch.