Sam Bennett makes return to Deceuninck - Quick-Step squad in Belgian one-day race

The Irish sprinter has fallen out with management, recently racing the European Championships without consulting with the team

Sam Bennett
Sam Bennett
(Image credit: Getty)

Sam Bennett will make his return to the Deceuninck - Quick-Step squad this week, as his public dispute with team management continues.

Irish sprinter Bennett has been routinely criticised by Patrick Lefevere, general manager of the Belgian WorldTour team, over a knee injury that has kept the rider out of competition since May.

Lefevere recently spoke out against Bennett for competing in the European Championships road race, a hilly course not suited to a pure sprinter like Bennett, without the blessing of the team.

After his DNF in that event, Bennett will line up in Deceuninck colours at the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen one-day race in Belgium on Friday (September 17), one of his last races for the team before he departs for Bora-Hansgrohe at the end of the season. 

Bennett will be racing the 195km pan-flat race alongside Dutch sprinter Fabio Jakobsen. 

Lefevere has repeatedly slammed Bennett this season, routinely using his newspaper column in Belgian paper Het Nieuwsblad to publicly take issue with the 30-year-old. 

Former pro-turned-manager Lefevere recently suggested that Bennett had been exaggerating the seriousness of a knee injury that forced him to skip the Tour de France, instead suggesting Bennett was showing “mental weakness.

Lefevere later rowed back on those comments, but went on to compare Bennett with a domestic abuse victim for re-signing with his old team Bora-Hansgrohe. 

Bennett has never spoken publicly about the dispute with the team boss.  

After Bennett was confirmed to be competing in the European road race, Lefevere said: "What he's doing now is playing with my balls in public. He has also already sent a letter to the UCI to complain that I have tackled him in the media. It will not work.”

Bennett has been with Deceuninck for two seasons, having left Bora in 2019 after he was sidelined at the biggest races to make way for Peter Sagan and Pascal Ackermann.

After joining Deceuninck, Bennett went onto his biggest successes, winning seven races, including two stages of the Tour de France and claiming the green jersey in Paris. 

This year Bennett has matched his win tally from last year, despite only racing from January to May before his knee injury took him out of action. 

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At the Tour de France however, Deceuninck gave Bennett’s spot to Mark Cavendish, who make a remarkable comeback to win four stages and the green jersey.   

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