Jonny Bel­lis

Re­cov­ered and back on the road

Procycling - - Prologue -

Four years on from a moped ac­ci­dent that nearly cost him not only his ca­reer but also his life, for­mer Saxo Bank rider Jonny Bel­lis still won’t ac­cept de­feat in his bat­tle to res­ur­rect a once highly promis­ing road ca­reer.

Bel­lis an­nounced in Fe­bru­ary that he will re­turn to the pro ranks in 2014 with the Dan­ish Con­ti­nen­tal di­vi­sion out­fit, Christina Watches. The 25-year-old raced for the Bel­gian am­a­teur squad ILLI-Bikes in 2013 and had been due to stay with them this year. He changed plans when Planet-X, who sup­ply him with track bikes, rec­om­mended him to Christina Watches, whom they also spon­sor.

Bel­lis con­cedes that ILLI-Bikes were un­happy with this but says that the of­fer to re­turn to a pro team was too good to refuse. “I hes­i­tated a bit at first, be­cause I needed to know that I’d ac­tu­ally get enough rac­ing,” Bel­lis said. “That’s what I re­ally need and it’s been a prob­lem for me ever since the ac­ci­dent.

“Last year was the first sea­son when I’ve raced a de­cent amount but it was a dif­fer­ent style of rac­ing in Bel­gium and a lower level. I also had knee prob­lems that held me back. Now, with the new team, I want to get some good road rac­ing un­til the end of June, then start fo­cussing on the track and build up to the Com­mon­wealth Games in Glas­gow at the end of July.”

Bel­lis is a for­mer Euro­pean cham­pion in en­durance events on the track and his per­for­mances on the boards this win­ter prompted Bri­tish Cy­cling coach Shane Sut­ton to en­dorse the move to Christina Watches. Sut­ton be­lieves that, in terms of skills and race-craft, Bel­lis is now back to his pre-ac­ci­dent best. If he can add some power and lost con­fi­dence, he could be one of the rid­ers to watch in the Scratch or Points race – and pos­si­bly the In­di­vid­ual Pur­suit – at Glas­gow. His Isle of Man team-mate, Mark Cavendish, will also be hop­ing for a strong ride from Bel­lis in the Road Race on 2 Au­gust.

Be­fore that, Bel­lis was due to kick off his time at Christina Watches with a 10-day train­ing camp in Italy in Fe­bru­ary. He then planned to make a per­ma­nent move to Tus­cany to be closer to ex-rider Al­berto Elli, one of the team’s di­recteurs sportifs.

Hav­ing in­fa­mously wel­comed Michael Ras­mussen in 2011, Christina Watches will again court con­tro­versy with its 2014 ros­ter. In ad­di­tion to Bel­lis and fel­low Brit Jake Tan­ner, the team has con­firmed deals for the Ger­man Ste­fan Schu­macher, and Ital­ians Mattia Gavazzi and En­rico Rossi, all three of whom have pre­vi­ously made head­lines with their in­volve­ment in drug scan­dals.

Bel­lis’s high­lypromis­ing ca­reer was wrecked by a life-threat­en­ing moped crash in 2009 From one Dan­ish team to an­other, Bel­lis will ride for Christina Watches in 2014

Bel­lis’s track suc­cess in re­cent times saw Bri­tish Cy­cling coach Shane Sut­ton en­dorse his move to Christina Watches

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