The first part of the question will take a little while. The second part won’t, he’s riding for Dimension Data! In signing to Dimension Data Ben becomes the 10th rider from the Avanti IsoWhey juggernaut to be signed to the world tour ranks. Back to the first part.
Ben is a 21 year old sand groper who lives at Cottesloe Beach. Originally a cross country runner Ben turned to cycling in 2014 and immediately started to show some promise. Western Australia has a really strong time trial scene and has produced some world class time trialers, think Luke Durbridge and Cam Meyer. When Ben started knocking off said world class TT specialists people started to take notice and in 2015 he signed for the WA based Satalyst Conti Team. A trip to China to compete in the Tour of Qinghai Lake where he finished 16th overall further underlined his potential and it was this result that convinced us to sign him for 2016.
A strong start to the season at Nationals saw him 3rd in the time trial and 9th in the road race. Then a trip across the ditch for the UCI 2.2 New Zealand Cycle Classic where he won the queen stage atop Admiral Hill before securing the yellow jersey really showed his class. A stint in yellow at the Tour of Taiwan where he went on to finish 3rd overall behind teammate Robbie Hucker definitely put him on the radar of a few big teams but it was his performance in Europe that got him signed.
Europe wasn’t all plain sailing. A rocky start whilst on loan to the World Tour Academy saw him struggle to fire in an environment and races that just didn’t suit him. But he turned that around when he joined the rest of the team’s climbing squad in the mountains of France to build up for the Tour De Savoie Mont Blanc.
In Savoie Ben showed what he could do. Surrounded by past and recently signed WT riders Ben found himself in the elite group of climbers time and time again after the team worked hard to get him there. In the tough individual time trial Ben did well to limit his losses finishing only 29 seconds down and in reach of most of his climbing adversaries.
On the final stage and sitting 4th overall Ben rolled the dice. On the days final climb he found himself in an elite 7 man group with all the GC contenders. He went to the front and upped the pace and immediately opened a gap on the rider in front of him on GC. Seeing the gap he put his head down and only race leader Enric Mas (Klein Constantia) and Tao Hart Geoghegan (Axeon Hagens Berman) could stay with him. Ben rode on to put over two minutes into the chase group and in doing so elevated himself to third overall.
Team owner and manager Andrew Christie-Johnston was glowing in his praise of Ben. “He has what it takes there’s no doubt about that. His numbers are world class but he’s still very young. He still needs time and development but I’m confident he’s got what it takes.”
Since Europe Ben has put himself at the service of his teammates and has turned himself inside out to ensure the team gets the results it is aiming for, another positive quality! We wish Ben all the best and want to thank our staff, our sponsors and supporters for all their encouragement and help. This is what it’s all for #allfortherider!