• Michael Freiberg was one of the top performers for IsoWhey SwissWellness, taking out the National Road Series overall victory. ((Cycling Australia/Con Chronis))Source: (Cycling Australia/Con Chronis)
The strongest domestic team in Australian cycling has made moves to strengthen further in 2018, announcing a new naming sponsor and a number of new riders for next season.
By
Jamie Finch-Penninger

23 Nov 2017 - 11:42 AM  UPDATED 23 Nov 2017 - 3:43 PM

The team will be known as Bennelong SwissWellness Cycling Team p/b Cervelo, after reaching an agreement with Australian financial services company Bennelong Funds Management. Previous headline sponsor IsoWhey Sports will stay involved with the team as the official nutrition provider.

While the roster is still being finalised, the team has already signed four new riders. New South Welshmen Dylan Sunderland is one of the most promising Australian youngsters in the Under 23 ranks at the moment and after a season mostly spent riding in Belgium and the USA, he'll look to snag that big result he needs to attract overseas attention. 

Ayden Toovey did a stagiare stint with Trek-Segafredo towards the end of the 2017 season to some acclaim and is a consistent presence near the top in the long Australia classics. Tristan Ward comes in as the least heralded of the new signings, but he has been in strong form recently in the NRS and has close ties with FTP training, the team's training partner.

“Dylan is a good climber that can also pack a surprising punch. He is dangerous from a small group, while Ayden is more of a rouleur who can do a bit of everything,” High Performance Director and FTP owner Mark Fenner explained. “Tristan is a sprint/leadout rider that can put out big watts. These guys are all very capable, but I think we will still see a lot of improvement out of them as we progress into 2018.”

The last signing is South African Brendon Davids, who burst onto the Australian scene with a brilliant ride that saw him humiliate the entire NRS field at the Battle Recharge, winning in a solo break by five and half minutes while riding for Oliver's Real Food Racing. He followed that up with a stage and overall win at the UCI 2.2 Jelajah Malaysia tour.

In a case of 'if you can't beat them, sign them', Davids will look to continue the team's envious ability of turning NRS riders into WorldTour cyclists.

“Brendon’s ride at Battle was impressive to say the least,” Team director Andrew Christie-Johnston said. “We probably would have given him a go on the strength of that alone as his endurance is very good for such a young guy.

"We’ve had a few mountain bikers on the team before and they all turned out pretty well so we hope Brendon will add to that list. I am really happy with how the whole roster is coming together; this could be our best team ever!”

Fresh from winning their eighth National Road Series crown in a row, the addition of Bennelong Funds Management represents a diversification from cycling industry sponsors holding the headline spot, with Avanti and IsoWhey Sports having held naming rights in the last few years.

Craig Bingham, CEO of Bennelong Funds Management, said the partnership was a great fit for the company.

“The Bennelong SwissWellness Cycling Team focuses on identifying and developing talent, and at Bennelong we’re always on the lookout for the next big thing too. We already had a great relationship with the team, particularly given the popularity of cycling with many financial advisers, and are looking forward to building a successful partnership together.”

The team will have riders represented at the Tour Down Under with the introduction of new performance-based incentives for the top teams in the NRS. They also have a reputation for taking the fight up to the much wealthier and higher credentialed teams during the Australian summer and are always a team to watch out for in January.