Sam Bennett linked to Deceuninck-QuickStep to replace Elia Viviani

Posted on: July 8th, 2019

Sam Bennett and Deceuninck-QuickStep: The Irish cyclist has beaten the Belgian team’s lead-out trainer and sprinters many times. But he is now going to join the squad for the next few seasons, which may prove to be his best?

Sam Bennett has been linked in French reports to a transfer to Deceuninck-QuickStep where he would replace Elia Viviani.

According to the respected French sports newspaper L’Équipe, Viviani has fallen out of love with Deceuninck-QuickStep and is set to join Cofidis.

The French team is said to be targeting a move up to WorldTour level.

Viviani would replace Nacer Bouhanni; the French sprinter who has run hot and cold at Cofidis.

With Viviani departing, Sam Bennett is set to move into the world’s most successful one-day teams as their top sprinter, according to the French outlet.

The same report said Bennett had been considering transferring to Movistar and was close to agreeing terms after his Critérium du Dauphiné win.

However, L’Équipe has now reported that a move to Deceuninck-QuickStep is his favoured option and the one being worked towards.

Bennett, who is riding for Bora-hansgrohe this year, won stage 3 of Critérium du Dauphiné into Riom.

That is one of eight wins for him so far this year, his most recent at the Irish championships.

The weekend before last in Derry City he beat Eddie Dunbar (Team Ineos) in a two-up sprint for the elite Irish road race crown.

Bennett has excelled at Bora-hansgrohe but there has been a sense over the last couple of seasons he has outgrown the team.

While it is one of the most successful in the pro game and has had a brilliant year so far this year, Pascal Ackermann was selected for the Giro ahead of Bennett.

And with Peter Sagan targeting the green jersey and stage wins at the Tour de France; neither Ackermann nor Bennett is riding that race.

Sam Bennett has won very big races this year, including two Paris-Nice stage wins.

Against that backdrop his absence from the Tour strongly suggests he is moving out of the team.

His contract with the squad expires at the end of this season and he recently spoke of not wanting to be held up behind other riders in a team.

While Deceuninck-QuickStep probably has more riders than any pro squad that can win races, Bennett would be a different proposition.

He would be the dedicated sprinter in the team rather than targeting the classics; perhaps what the team is best known for.

News of Bennett’s plans for next year, whatever they may be, should emerge publicly soon.

The Tour de France rest days are often used by teams to confirm new arrivals and departures for the following season.