George Bennett may not be able to travel home to New Zealand this year due to the coronavirus restrictions in his home country.
The Jumbo-Visma rider only learned earlier this month that the authorities in New Zealand have put strict quarantine measures in place for anyone entering the country, which mean he would have to spend two weeks isolated in a hotel.
Bennett may have now have to remain in Europe during the off season, not seeing his family and missing the New Zealand summer.
In an interview with Stuff, the 30-year-old said: “It’s going to be a really strange off-season. Usually it’s the time for me to play up a little bit and do all the things that I can’t do in the season and just really breathe out.
“But it’s quite difficult when you can’t travel, you can’t go to bars, you can’t really meet with more than a few people. So it’s important that I can find a way to get that mental reset in a strange period like this.
“We’d love to come home. It would be pretty tough to miss a New Zealand summer after a year like this but if we can’t, well everyone has to make exceptions in a strange year and maybe it wouldn’t be so bad for me to do a winter for once in my life.”
The current coronavirus rules in New Zealand, anyone travelling to the country must book a slot in a ‘managed isolation’ facility before they can book their flight.
On arrival, travellers must then isolate for 14 days if they are not showing coronavirus symptoms.
Bennett said he could not get a space in managed isolation until December, so he would have to spend Christmas isolating in a hotel.
Bennett closed out a stressful season with the Vuelta a España, where his team-leader Primož Roglič came away with his second consecutive red jersey.
But it wasn’t plain sailing for Jumbo-Visma and Bennett, as the team has to deal with the heartbreak of losing the Tour de France on the penultimate stage, as Roglič lost the race lead to Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) in the time trial.
Bennett picked up his own results this year, winning Gran Piemonte and finishing second in Il Lombardia.