George Bennett says a need to get out of his “comfort zone” was part of his reason to leave Jumbo-Visma for UAE Team Emirates.
The New Zealander has ended seven seasons at the Dutch-based outfit to move teams and has opened up about his reasons for doing so. The former Tour of California winner will be linking up with Tadej Pogacar from next year.
"It's not just that UAE Team Emirates wanted or needed me, I also needed to shake things up," Bennett told Cyclingnews.
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"I lived outside my comfort zone when I was racing as an amateur in France, then for an Italian team and then a Dutch team. I need to get that feeling back to push myself.
“Sometimes it's good to get a fresh eye on things with a fresh coach, a fresh nutritionist and a fresh biomechanic. I've learnt a lot from Jumbo-Visma so I've got a whole new level to explore and try out. Moving on is a good opportunity for growth."
Bennett had no issues with Jumbo-Visma and his departure from the team appears to have been handled in good spirits. He insists moving to UAE Team Emirates is not about money, but says riders are often torn between loyalty and looking after themselves.
“You see the true colours of a rider and a team when they part ways," he said.
"When you don't have any obligations or future, a relationship can change but even as I move on I have to say that Jumbo-Visma has been a great team for me. I was with the team for seven years and so I built relationships with the riders and staff. Pro cycling is far more than a normal job, so when you change it's sad too.
"Pro riders see themselves as brothers in arms but we're also mercenaries. We ride together, live in hotels and on the team bus together, we romanticise about it all but then our careers and contracts can be short.
"When you suffer so much in racing, take so many risks and crash, spend so much time training high up on a volcano, you have to make it more than a job.
“There has to be loyalty to a team and a cause and a bond with your teammates, otherwise, there's no way we'd do it all. But at the end of the day, we're also mercenaries that sell out to the team we think are best for us. Yet we don't take risks just for the money in your bank account. It's a fascinating contrast and perhaps what makes our sport special."
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