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“It was a great year, I made a big step in my development and I hope to improve even more next year.”


Photo: Sirotti




16.11.2015 @ 09:00 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Irish sprinter Sam Bennett is rapidly becoming one of the fastest riders in cycling, with nine wins to his name in just two seasons with Bora-Argon 18. The German Pro Continental squad has built the 25 year old a good train and have put sole leadership of the team with him. After a painful Tour de France debut, the rider spoke with about his big goals and returning to the world’s biggest race.


After one win in 2013 and three in 2014, Bennett managed to take five wins this year, taking high quality sprints in Tour of Qatar, Bayern-Rundfahrt (twice), Arctic Race and Paris-Bourges. It wasn’t just quantity with Bennett, managing to beat Sagan, Kristoff, Boonen, Bouhanni and Demare over the course of those five races.


“It was nice to get those results this year, maybe because I never get caught up with the big names in the race. I just try to do my thing. But when you pull it off and get some small results it definitely helps the morale,” Bennett told CyclingQuotes.


In fact, it wasn’t just on the win front that he holds this season in high regard. He says he has really improved over the last 12 months and hopes to do so again in 2016.


“It was a great year, I made a big step in my development and I hope to improve even more next year.”


One of the things Bennett has improved at is long days in the saddle. He always could handle hard courses, like he showed when he won his first pro race at the 2013 Tour of Britain, a day which featured Caerphilly Mountain. Now though, Bennett has put in good rides at Milan-Sanremo and the Worlds on tough courses and races that lasted 250k plus. Bennett says he won’t specifically target those races but will perhaps specifically look at them later in his career.


“I will always give 100% in every race, that’s my philosophy. Maybe in the future I will specially target some of those races but in the meantime I will just try to take anything I can get my hands on.” 


When asked if he thought he shouldn’t have ridden the Tour de France as his first three week race as it was too much, Bennett says he thinks no one is ever ready for their first three week race, so it might as well have been the hardest of them all.


“I went into the Tour without enough training. Having to push through despite that has increased my pain threshold, a little - for sure. I don’t think you're ever going to be ready for your first Grand Tour so why not go big!”


Bennett already has a good sprint train with him, with leadout man Shane Archbold being up there with the best in his discipline and Jan Barta performing the deisel engine role, dragging the leadout to the head of affairs with just minutes to go in the race thanks to his huge power as a great time triallist. Bennett has the strength to finish races off, but Bora-Argon 18 are giving their rider even more support, signing German Rüdiger Selig from Katusha to give Bennett another option to lead him out.


“Rüdiger seems like a nice guy with great experience and great power. Hopefully, the new environment will give him some fresh motivation, which converts into great results for the team. I believe that in a sprint train there has to be a good morale between the teammates. So, we have to find out about who and what positions fit best. Everyone has to trust the guy in front and almost know what he’s thinking and what his next move will be. We simply need to see what flows best.”


One area Bennett does suffer is in WorldTour experience. His only WolrdTour race days in the last 24 months have come in two Tirrenos (where he has finished third and fourth on stages), his Tour (where he took a top ten despite not being on form due to illness) and one edition of Vatenfall, GP Quebec and GP Montreal. Nonetheless, a WorldTour win beckons and Bennett knows that. When we asked him what his goals were for 2016, there was no messing about: “My goals are to improve and go big.”


Sam Bennett is already a fast man, and he certainly isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Expect big things from him in 2016, as he looks to continue to beat the WorldTour riders in big races next year.




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