By Jonny Long
Deceuninck - Quick-Step are confident Sam Bennett will make it to the end of the Tour de France in Paris, but will take it day by day as their sprinter battles over the Alps to make it to the Champs-Élysées.
On stage 13 the Irish sprinter struggled over the climbs to finish comfortably inside the time limit with help from his team-mates, with sports director Rik Van Slycke saying Bennett had felt "a bit empty" towards the final climb up Puy Mary.
"We still had 20 or 25 minutes so he was not really in danger," Van Slycke said of the possibility Bennett didn't make it to the end of stage 13. "He was very good at the beginning of the race, everything went as planned, but at the end he felt a little bit empty, but nothing to really get concerned or panic about."
The 29-year-old was paced to the finish line, and Van Slycke says Bennett's riding style can make it look like he's suffering more than he is.
"It was a hard climb, and also the way he is battling it looks like he's really having big problems but it's his style also, he's a worker on the bike.
"But of course he suffered a little bit, but it's not a big thing to worry...like he's not gonna make it, no...that was not the case yesterday."
While the final GC battle takes place over multiple stages in the Alps, Bennett will be out of view of the television cameras in the gruppetto, trying to just make it to the finish so he can hold on to his green jersey, as Bora-Hansgrohe and Peter Sagan try to make this as difficult an endeavour as possible.
"I think we take it day by day and if everybody stays healthy for sure we get to Paris," Van Slycke said.
"We don't get too nervous about [not making it to the finish] because he has the capacity, he is a strong rider. And it's only some energy which is taken away because of calculations and then tactics but we'll get through it. It's not too much to be worried about."
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