Sam Bennett says the next few years will be his best opportunity to compete for sprints in Grand Tours, and he’ll consider his options if Bora-Hansgrohe don’t give him chances at the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France.
The team said they will not take him to the Giro d’Italia, where he won three stages in 2018, opting instead for home star and German champion Pascal Ackermann. With Peter Sagan leading their Tour de France team, Bennett has no chance there either.
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“They make a decision for a reason, I still get my opportunities in the Vuelta a España. It’s a race I like. But… I have a few years now where it’s the good time to be in the Giro or Tour,” Bennett said.
“I’m 28, 29 next season. I’m not getting any younger and these are my best years, I want the opportunities.”
Bennett grew alongside team Bora, joining when they were known as NetApp-Endura. The team took him to the Tour twiceand in the Giro d’Italia last year, he sprinted to wins in Praia Mare, Imola and on the final stage in Rome.
Peter Sagan now takes the driver’s seat in the Tour de France, which leaves Bennett to focus on other opportunities like the Giro, but this off-season the team said they wanted to take Ackermann for his first Grand Tour.
The decision could force Bennett to look elsewhere for the 2020 season when his contract expires.
“I don’t know [about changing teams]. Bora has always been great for me, so we just need to try to work out a good plan,” he added.
“It makes the decision harder [to have multiple sprinters here]. I’ve grown up with Bora so if I have to part ways it’d be difficult. I really have to look what’s best for myself.
“We are going to talk and make a really good plan, but if not we’ll just see what’s the best deal I can get.”
Last month, Peter Sagan led Bennett out to a stage win in Argentina’s Vuelta a San Juan. The Irishman is currently racing in the UAE Tour, which offers two more sprint opportunities.
“I hope to try to sneak a stage win here, it’s good for my palmarès. My season started well, but I’m a little frustrated here. I have the legs but it doesn’t seem to be happening for me. My form’s good so it should be OK,” he explained.
“We have a lot of strong sprinters in the team, it makes it more difficult. I have lot of races where I can get results. Starting with the Vuelta a España at the end of the year. I have the Dauphiné, Turkey, Frankfurt, London. I have those opportunities.
“Milan-San Remo will be interesting, you never know how things go on the day. My form’s going well and I’m working for that.”