Ben Perry joins fellow Canadian rider Hugo Houle on Astana Pro Team

·1 min read

The Astana Pro cycling team has added some more Canadian content, signing Ben Perry.

The 26-year-old from St. Catharines, Ont., who has been riding for the Israel Start-Up Nation team, joins fellow Canadian rider Hugo Houle on the Astana roster next year.

Astana recently named Canadian Steve Bauer as its sporting director. Bauer won Canada's first-ever medal in the Olympic road race — a silver at the 1984 Los Angeles Games — and took part in nine editions of the Tour de France between 1985 and 1995.

He won a stage and placed fourth overall in the 1988 Tour. Bauer was just the second Canadian ever to lead the Tour after Alex Stieda.

Quebec's Premier Tech, a sponsor since 2017, recently became co-sponsor of the Kazakh UCI WorldTour outfit, prompting an upcoming change in name from the Astana Pro Team to Astana Premier Tech on Jan. 1.

Perry signed a one-year deal with Astana. Houle, a 30-year-old native of Sainte-Perpetue, Que., who joined the team in 2018, is signed through 2022.

"I look forward to competing in the world’s most illustrious races, in a team that has a strong history and culture," Perry said in a statement Friday. "I want to make an impression on the team straight away and demonstrate my capabilities as a complete and consistent rider."

Other new Astana signings are Italy's Samuele Battistella, Andrea Piccolo and Matteo Sobrero, South Africa's Stefan de Bod and Spain's Javier Romo.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 20, 2020

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press