Ben Hermans: I look forward to working with Dan Martin

Road Cycling

Ben Hermans jumped up a spot at this year’s Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah after having finished second last year, claiming the overall win in Park City on Sunday after taking the race lead four days earlier on Powder Mountain.

The win comes on the heels of Hermans’ win at the Tour of Austria and just days after his Israel Cycling Academy team announced the signing of Dan Martin to a two-year deal, starting next season.

Hermans is in a contract year with the Pro Continental team, and he said negotiations for next season are ongoing as the team has made it clear that it wants to move to the WorldTour either next season or the year after that. 

Hermans said he’d welcome the move, but that the team needed to start signing some bigger-named riders. Israel Cycling Academy pulled that off this week by signing Martin, and Hermans was obviously pleased.

“I really like Dan Martin as a person and also as a rider,” Hermans said. “He’s more or less the same type of rider as me, so it will be really nice to work together with him and help him when he’s good, and maybe he can help me when I’m in better shape.

“It would also be a different perspective in the Classics races, in the Ardennes races,” Hermans said. “He can really go for the win, so we could have a really high goal there. I would like to look forward to working with him.”

Before Hermans can have the opportunity work with Martin, however, he needs to work out his deal with the team. 

“I am out of contract at the moment, but we are talking to get the contract for one or two more years, but I haven’t made a decision yet,” he said after winning the Powder Mountain stage. “It’s not about my results at the moment. We just need to see what the plan is for the future of the team, and then we’ll decide.”

Asked if signing Martin, or the team’s ability to move to the WorldTour, will affect his contract decision one way or the other, Hermans said that it wouldn’t.

“I don’t think it will affect my decision whether I stay or not whether they go to the WorldTour or not. I’m talking to the team to stay, but I cannot say anything about my contract for next year. I don’t know yet,” he said. 

“Of course, it would be nice if we go to the WorldTour, but if we don’t, we’ll still have a nice programme. This year we’ve done a lot of big races, but we can also do races like Utah. For a WorldTour team, it’s not easy to do a really nice race like this. I really enjoy being on a Pro Conti team with a different programme, not doing only the big WorldTour races.” 

Hermans said he’s enjoyed racing for the Pro Continental team on the back of eight years on the WorldTour with RadioShack and BMC Racing.

“It’s a different experience,” he said. “I’ve been the leader for the past two years, and I’ve had some nice opportunities. It’s nice to be in the mix and in a position to win at smaller races. The last two years at Israel Cycling Academy have been good for the confidence.”

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