Yesterday Team LottoNL-Jumbo announced that Robert Gesink would not start in the Tour de France. Pity for the Dutch fans, but instead George Bennett will take part in the biggest event on the cycling calendar. It will be the first Tour for him and I bet he is quite excited about it. He was born in New Zealand, 26 years ago and so we are allowed to call him a real ‘Kiwi’. But if someone told me that he was born in the United Kingdom, I would have believed it too.
His name sounds English. Maybe his grandparents were born in England and moved to New Zealand? Or one of his great grandparents was sent abroad to Australia on a ship and liked the country so much (less rain, I suppose) that he never returned to England again. Furthermore, his name reminds me of an old novel. If we still lived in the 19th century, he could have easily been a brother of Elisabeth Bennet, a character in Pride and Prejudice, one of the most famous books of Jane Austen. I wonder if he and mister Darcy would have become good friends or not? (If you are not the romantic type, don’t bother reading the book)
By the looks of it, it seems that he walked straight out of the beginning of the 20th century. The only thing missing is a costume and a hat and he is ready to go. He would fit perfect in a storyline of Downton Abbey (for those frowning right now: it is a historical period drama). I imagine him coming up to the house as a new footman, making all the kitchen maids blush from ear to ear. Not to forget, making all the other valets and footmen jealous of him for his good manners towards everyone in the house. Footman George. It sounds so familiar already.
None of the above is about to happen, it is certain to say that it will never happen. What will happen is that George Bennett will start in his first Tour de France and that he will try his best in the mountains and make New Zealand proud. How ever much I would want to see him in a 19th century costume, it will never happen.
© Laura Fletcher