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Sean Bennett will continue his racing career in a move Qhubeka-Assos for 2021.
The South African team confirmed the arrival of 24-year-old American along with two other signings, Lukasz Wisniowski and Karel Vacek, as the team continues to round out its roster for 2021.
“I’m really excited to join the team and be a part of something that’s so much more than bike racing. I can’t wait to find out more about the Qhubeka Charity and the huge difference it’s making in people’s lives,” Bennett said Friday. “After a couple of great years, I’m really excited looking to the future now as I think some of my best on the bike are still to come.”
Bennett raced the past two seasons with EF Pro Cycling after jumping to the WorldTour ranks from Hagens Berman Axeon. He raced two editions of the Giro d’Italia, in 2019 and 2020, and was sixth in the U.S. national time trial championship in 2019.
“Sean is a different rider having had the experience of Axel Merckx in the Hagens Berman Axeon team, where he was once second in a hard stage at the Tour of California,” said sport director Lars Michaelsen. “His move then on to the professional ranks with EF was notable, securing some good results and performing well. At the Giro he showed he’s a fast guy too, being in the mix a few times. Actually, we don’t consider him purely as a sprinter but somebody like a semi-classic rider who can assist on climbs but also be aggressive.”
Bennett’s and the other signings Friday follows the confirmation of Giacomo Nizzolo, Simon Clarke, Dimitri Claeys, Kilian Frankiny, Nicholas Dlamini, and Carlos Barbero for Africa’s only WorldTour-registered team.
The final-hour arrival of Assos as a co-sponsor this month saved the team going into 2021 following the exit of longtime sponsor NTT. A planned merger at the beginning of the season — with ex-pro Bjarne Riis at the helm – was scuttled by the coronavirus pandemic, and the Dane left the team this month.
Team principal Douglas Ryder, who founded the team more than a decade ago, will be announcing more arrivals soon. Right now, only 15 of the team’s 2021 roster is confirmed.
A slew of riders left, including Edvald Boasson Hagen (Total Direct Energie), Roman Kreuziger (Gazprom-RusVelo), Michael Valgren (EF Pro Cycling), Louis Meintjes (Circus-Wanty Gobert), and Ben King (Rally Cycling).
Officials told VeloNews the team plans to race in the UCI WorldTour in 2021.