With Sam Bennett set to leave Deceuninck - Quick-Step at the end of the season, the Irishman becomes one of the most sought-after riders available this cycling transfer window, with Ineos Grenadiers the latest team to apparently signal their interest.
That's according to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, who report the British outfit have joined the race to sign the sprinter.
Bennett would join fellow Irishman Eddie Dunbar, as well as a host of British riders, and would become the team's biggest-name sprinter since Mark Cavendish rode for them in the 2012 season.
Bora-Hansgrohe are also in the running, despite the manner in which Bennett left the team at the end of 2019, having been overlooked for that summer's Tour de France squad. The Irishman made up for lost time a year later, winning two stages including stage 21 on the Champs-Élysées and taking home the green jersey.
Such is the desire from the German team to re-sign their former rider, they've already put in motion bringing Ryan Mullen over from Trek-Segafredo, a good friend of Bennett, who currently works as part of Jasper Stuyven's entourage.
Ineos count Kurt Bogaerts among their staff, the Belgian who worked with Bennett when he was at An Post in 2012 and 2013.
Bennett's departure from Deceuninck - Quick-Step is down to funds, according to team boss Patrick Lefevere, with other teams willing and able to offer much heftier salaries which inevitably attract star riders away from the Belgian team.
"I used to have to negotiate for two days during the Tour de France, now I have been besieged by managers for two days. I had to go from meeting to meeting. Whether it is purely a matter of money? You have to ask him [Bennett]," Lefevere said recently.
“The fact that these types of riders leave is life. As pros they have to earn as much money as possible. But look at the sprinters who left us.”
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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