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Wheelers Pros

Celebrating our riders

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George Bennett

Check out Jumbo-Visma's goodbye to George

George Bennett was born in Nelson, New Zealand in 1990. Unlike some of the other New Zealand World Tour riders, George's pathway to professional road cycling didn't come via a track program. Instead he played rugby as a kid and only began riding as a way to keep fit for his activities on the rugby field. However it didn't take long before he quit rugby and decided to focus solely on cycling.

Unfortunately George's rookie year was interrupted due to a knee injury and he found it hard to build any momentum in the saddle. In contrast, 2013 began well with a strong showing at the Tour Down Under before he was selected to ride his first Grand Tour at the Giro d'Italia in May. However misfortune struck again, George became ill during the race and struggled physically. Although his debut Grand tour was a valuable learning experience, George was disappointed he couldn't show his strong early season form in any part of the race. He sat out the early part of the Summer to concentrate on getting healthy and bounced back to form in fine style with notable performances in the Tours of Utah & Colorado. He finished his season with another good showing, finishing 20th in the Tour of Beijing.

In 2014, George signed for Cannondale Pro Cycling and season highlights included another strong showing in the Tour of Utah where he finished 9th in the Overall GC. In August, George made his second start in a Grand Tour at the Vuelta a Espana and showed his talent as a climber on a number of the tough hillier stages.

In 2015, George joined Team Lotto NL and made a strong start to the season with a top 10 finish at the Tour Down Under. He was hoping to carry his early season form into the Giro d’Italia but unfortunately had to withdraw a couple of days before the start of the race due to low cortisol levels which were caused by his asthma medication. With a rejigged race schedule, George spent the summer preparing for the Vuelta and caught the eye with a number of impressive rides on the mountain stages of the three week stage race.

In 2016, George enjoyed a break through year in the saddle earning selection for milestone races including the Tour de France and Olympic Games in Rio. He also raced at the Vuelta riding in support of Steven Kruijswijk. However when his teammate crashed out of the race on stage 5, George inherited the leading role and rode impressively to finish 10th in the Overall GC. In doing so, George became the first Kiwi to finish inside the top 10 in a Grand Tour.

In 2018, George made a solid start to the season with consecutive top 10 stage race finishes at Tirreno-Adriatico, Catalunya and the Tour of the Alps. He carried this good form into the Giro where he finished 8th in the Overall GC, a second top 10 finish in a Grand Tour. He capped another very good season with a top 20 finish in the World Championship road race followed by a top 10 finish at Lombardia. George will look to continue targetting stage races over the coming seasons.

All photography provided by CorVos and Team Jumbo-Visma.

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Niamh Fisher-Black

2021 World U23 rider of year

Niamh Fisher-Black's signing of a two-year contract generated great satisfaction among the members of the technical staff. This champion from New Zealand is only 20 years old and comes to us from Équipe Paule Ka. "It's only a matter of time before Fisher-Black establishes herself as one of the absolute world leaders on climbs", says Stam. "She surprised everyone in the Giro Rosa in 2020. She has a tremendously athletic body and she impressed our riders with how she handled the tricky bits. I'm convinced she will continue to make a lot of progress in our team." 

The New Zealander was pleasantly surprised to be approached by Team SD Worx. "I still have to discover my possibilities as a cyclist", she says with great modesty. "Everyone in the peloton sees how dominant Boels-Dolmans can be on rides. I'm very proud to be part of this winning team. I think it will be an ideal learning opportunity for me." 

Fisher-Black hopes to prove herself mainly in the tougher competitions. "I'm at my best during stage races and classics with lots of climbs. I was very pleased to already be riding the Giro Rosa this year. That I made it to second place in the final stage gave me huge satisfaction. It also goes to show that I recover well from heavy exertion."

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Finn Fisher-Black

In early February, New Zealander Finn Fisher-Black captured the world record in the 3000-metre individual pursuit for juniors. A month later, he proved that he also is a decent road cyclist. In Australia, he captured two Oceanian junior titles, one on the road and one in the time trial.

After a season of racing for Jumbo Visma, Fisher-Black will make his appearance in the shirt of Development Team UAE Team Emirates.

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Jack Bauer

Bauer was raised in a remote area of New Zealand called Parapara near the township of TakakaTasman. In 2003, Bauer began his tertiary studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand whilst residing at Aquinas College in his first year. He was a nationally ranked mountain biker at the time. Whilst there, he was also often seen around the Dunedin Music scene playing his bass guitar in a band called Dream Farm. In 2006, Bauer earned his bachelor's degree in Physical Education from Otago University in DunedinOtago, New Zealand.

Jack Bauer then worked as a cycle courier in Wellington for a year.

After a move to Ghent in 2009, he raced in amateur races and as a result obtained a contract with Endura Racing. While riding for Endura Racing, Bauer won the 2010 New Zealand National Road Race Championships. In November 2011, Bauer signed with the renamed Garmin–Barracuda squad, for the 2012 season. He remained with Garmin–Sharp for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons. On the fifteenth stage of the 2014 Tour de France, Bauer broke away with Martin Elmiger for 222 km, only to be caught by the charging peloton a few meters from the line.

Bauer currently resides in GironaCatalonia, Spain.

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Shaane Fulton

Best race results:

  • 5th Keirin 2020 Oceania Championships

  • 3rd Keirin 2019 UCI C1 Festival of Speed 

  • 1st 500m TT with a big PB just 0.03 outside the National Record, clocking 34.239 at the 2021 National Championships

Shaane is 21 and a part of the New Zealand Track Cycling Team.

Shaane joined the Tasman Wheelers when she was 12 years old and raced any chance she got, whether it be on the road, mountain bike or track. As she grew up, she found her love for Track Sprinting.

 

In April 2020 was integrated into the New Zealand Sprint Team. More recently at the 2021 National Championships she won 3 titles in the Sprint, Kerin and the last one being the 500m TT where she missed the National Record by the slimmest of margins (0.03)! 

In July Shaane had the chance to have a crack at it again, where she managed to set a new record of 34.025, later that evening, her and her teammates also lined up and set a new Team Sprint record.

 

Over the next 12 months Shaane will be pushing towards the 2022 Commonwealth Games and World Championships which will hopefully be a great halfway marker as her eyes stay firmly set on the Paris Olympic Games, 2024. See you out there!

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Ari Scott

I started riding at Trafalgar Park on the track plus road at the age of five, then as a junior with Tasman Wheelers at the age of about 9 years, as well as MTB events, also riding Cyclocross.

In 2017 I started racing for Cycle NZ doing the Goulburn Junior Tour of Australia.

From here I then progressed up to doing junior tours throughout NZ, which gave me the opportunity to join Team Skoda Fuzio for the season of 2018/2019. During this time, I completed the Tour of Southland with this team as well as doing events such as Gravel and Tar and Le Race.

Also, during 2019 I went with Cycle NZ again to compete in the Junior Worlds in Harrogate in the UK.

From here I went to France riding once again for Cycle NZ and this is where I got many great race highlights, with winning two Criterions and podium finishes in other road races

 I left NZ in 2019 and went to pursue my cycling career in Spain riding for team ACB-Girona Cycling team. While there I managed to achieve winning four jerseys in one day on a three day tour.

Returning to NZ in 2020, I joined Black Spokes Cycling Academy. We raced in Taiwan, Australia, and a few other countries. I also did the Tour of Southland with the Black Spokes.

In 2021 I returned again to Spain and re-joined my old team ACB-Girona cycling team. I was in Spain for another seven months doing many races including the Spanish Cup cycle race. Our team did well but personally, the experience was amazing.

Back to NZ in October 2021 I joined up with Team Coupland and raced for them during the summer of 2021 and leading into summer 2022. While here I completed the Tour of Southland and the Cycle Classic with Team Coupland.

During this time back in NZ I competed in Elite Road Nationals, TA Tours, and several other events, before heading back to Spain in March 2022

I am currently riding in Spain for Team SmartDry Girona for this 2022 season and will return to NZ about October 2022.

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Andrew Bidwell

Andrew currently racing for Swiss Racing Academy overseas in Europe competing in the top U23 and Elite races. His best result was in Italy at Trofeo Citta Di Sant'Egidio where out of over 200 riders he placed 3rd. However, with an unforseen knee injury this year I hope to get back racing in 2022.

 

Tasman Wheelers helped me make that next step and enjoy some great races.

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Keegan Hornblow

I was born and raised in Nelson. On the bike with the family since forever, I then discovered Tasman Wheelers when I was about 12. Local club racing with them was a key part in my development and motivation within cycling while I was younger. My highlight as a junior was competing at the 2019 Track Jr World Champs in Germany. Local legend Jason Craig coached me to 4th in the Team Pursuit and 9th in the Individual Pursuit.

I'm now 20 years old and am racing in Spain with ‘Team SmartDry’. Alongside Ari Scott a fellow Nelsonian and good mate.

I am also a part of the New Zealand Track squad, spending a fair bit of time in Cambridge when in NZ.

As well as Tasman Wheelers, Team Couplands has been a huge part in my development. Providing me with opportunities in the 2021 Tour of Southland coming away with 3rd U23 GC, and 3 stage top 5’s. Then also the 2022 NZ Cycle Classic, taking my first UCI stage win and finishing 5th on GC.

I look forward to racing with Tasman Wheelers when in back in Nelson next!