Sam Bennett on being led out by Peter Sagan: ‘People give you s**t online if you don’t pull it off’

The Irish sprinter took leadership responsibilities over the three-time world champion in the early season

Sam Bennett wins the final stage of the Vuelta a San Juan 2019 after being led out by Peter Sagan (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sam Bennett said he had “a lot of s**t online” thrown his direction after using superstar Peter Sagan as a lead-out rider in the early season.

The Irish sprinter took on leadership duties during the Vuelta a San Juan last month, but revealed there was added pressure with a three-time world champion working for him.

Bennett missed out on his first two opportunities in Argentina and sparked a less than enthusiastic response from some fans online, he said.

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The 28-year-old, who is carrying the sprinting hopes of his Bora-Hansgrohe team at the UAE Tour this week, said: “It’s a bit of pressure.

“Excuse my language, but you get a lot of s**t online if you don’t pull it off after that lead out.

“But it’s early in the season and nobody really stresses.”

The talented fast man shares plenty of attributes with Sagan, particularly his ability to succeed in chaotic and unpredictable sprints.

Fortunately, Bennett was able to quiet the doubters in San Juan when he took victory on the final stage. His lead-out man Sagan finished fifth.

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He added: “It’s always good to start the season with a win.

“It’s good for moral and we’ve come here [to the UAE Tour] looking for another one.

“I’d like to win here. Everything I can get an opportunity for I’m going to really go for.

“I always do, but it’s very a important year this year and I’m not getting any younger.”

Bennett’s contract with Bora expires at the end of the 2019 season.

He has been vocal about his dissatisfaction at the team’s decision to not take him to the Giro d’Italia this season, particularly after his three stage wins at the Italian Grand Tour last year.

In the short term, Bennett said his big targets are Milan-San Remo and the World Championships in Yorkshire.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.