Sam Bennett is trying to break free of an early agreement with Bora-Hansgrohe in order to sign with Deceuninck -Quick-Step for 2020, according to Cycling Weekly sources.
Bennett is believed to have signed an offer letter in May with some financial conditions spelled out that the German WorldTour outfit Bora-Hansgrohe would keep him for 2020.
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Cycling Weekly understands that a UCI arbitration panel will make a decision after Bennett, his manager and the team’s general manager Ralph Denk presented their cases.
The Irish Champion wants out, however, after being excluded from the Giro d’Italia team and unable to race the Tour de France, where Peter Sagan was the focus. The team overlooked him for the Giro d’Italia in favour of German sprinter Pascal Ackermann, which was strange given Bennett gave the team three stage wins in the 2018 Giro.
According to CW sources, it is understood Bennett will ride with Deceuninck – Quick-Step if the matter is cleared in his favour by the UCI. Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s star sprinter Elia Viviani will race for Cofidis in 2020, a move that makes room for Bennett’s arrival.
EF Education First and Trek-Segafredo were also said to be interested in Bennett, as were many teams in one of the star sprinters.
Quick-Step has a history of delivering top sprinters to their goals, including Mark Cavendish, and like Bora-Hansgrohe rides on Specialized bicycles.
Cycling Weekly reached out to Bennett’s manager Andrew McQuaid but he would not comment and preferred to wait until the arbitration is settled.
Bennett, 28, is one of the best sprinters on the market at the moment. Despite not getting a chance in the Grand Tours until the Vuelta a España, he cleaned up in other races: winning two stages in Paris-Nice, a stage in the Critérium du Dauphiné, and three in the BinckBank Tour – all WorldTour races.
On Monday, he won in the first sprint opportunity at the Vuelta a España.