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Sam Bennett on stepping up as favourite at WorldTour level

Posted on: October 10th, 2017

Sam Bennett on being favourite at WorldTour level

Having taken his second career WorldTour win and his  eight victory of the year Sam Bennett has spoken about assuming the favourite’s mantle at the Tour of Turkey.

 

Sam Bennett on being favourite at WorldTour level

 

Still aged just 26 years, this is Bennett’s first season at WorldTour level. And while a period of fatigue interrupted his form in the latter part of the season, he has come back strong.

The Carrick-on-Suir man was forced to sit out the World Road Championships; a blow considering his commitment to the green jersey since his junior days.

However, he came back and took victory last week in Sparkassen Munsterland Giro.

A mark of his form was that he beat Phil Bauhaus (Sunweb), Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal), Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) and Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo).

And now he starts the Tour of Turkey today in the yellow jersey having won his the opening stage yesterday.

He went into the stage as the hot favourite and came good; never an easy task.

 

Sam Bennett on being favourite at WorldTour level

 

“I didn’t expect people to be afraid of me,” he said when asked what it was like being favourite.

“I thought, if we slow up, they’ll slow up. But they didn’t. I felt pressure to come up with a result in the final 2km.

“My legs felt a bit jelly because of it. But in the end, it worked really well.

“It’s great to be favourite in the sprints. It’s a new experience. I’ve had it before but never in the WorldTour.

“So I think I learned a lot today about timing and taking control of where I want to go.

“The sprint today was harder than I expected. In the last 30 km the pace really dug in, it was a shock to the system.

“Some guys went left at 200m to go and that was where I started my sprint. It was hard in the headwind and at 50m to go, I was tiring.

“But I looked around, saw I had a gap and I held my hands up on the line, which was really nice. You don’t often get that chance.”

Bennett added he was not the team’s general classification ride in Turkey as some of the climbs would prove too much.

But after his victory yesterday he believed there were two more stages for the sprinters.

“I think tomorrow could be another opportunity,” he said. “We have riders like Consonni and Theuns so it’s not easy to win.

“Everyone knows there are WorldTour points here at the end of the season and everyone wants them.

“Our GC man is Gregor Mühlberger, who has been riding really, really strong, and has progressed so much this year.

“He has a good chance for this race. We’ll ride for him to the best of our abilities later in the week.

“We came with big ambitions to win stages and go for GC,” Sam Bennett added. “We had a clear plan at the start of the stage, although it was very hard to pull it off.

“Trek, UAE and the other big teams fought hard. So it was very difficult for us. But I have to thank my team mates – we’ve delivered on one of our first goals in stage 1.”

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