Video: Bennett eyeing Irish national championships win or Tour of Britain stage in contract hunt
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Monday, May 27, 2013

Video: Bennett eyeing Irish national championships win or Tour of Britain stage in contract hunt

by Shane Stokes at 2:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Video
Two An Post Rás stage victories underline progression

Sam BennettWinning two stages in the An Post Rás has given Sam Bennett a vital confidence boost after a long period of time without a victory and now, believing in himself a lot more than before, the 22 year old Irishman has identified two big targets in the upcoming months.

The An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly team rider will tackle the first of those in just under four week’s time when he lines out in the Irish national road race championships in Carlingford. He was under 23 champion two years ago but with a course that suits him and a strong team behind him, could be a contender for the elite title.

“It is a nice course this year, nice and flat, and hopefully I can use my sprinting legs to get another win,” he told VeloNation yesterday.

Last year he was in strong form for two big races at the end of the year, netting fifth, sixth and ninth on stages of the Tour of Britain at 21 years of age. He was then tenth in the world under 23 road race championships despite being held up on the final lap and burning up a lot of energy before the sprint in getting back on.

Turning 23 this coming October means that he would have to ride the Elite event at the worlds and because of this plus the tough nature of the course, he doesn’t see it as an option. However the British event is very much on his radar.

“Definitely the Tour of Britain [is a goal],” he said. “I am not too keen on the worlds, it is a bit too hilly for me. I am two kilos heavier this year and I am not really keen on the worlds. But hopefully in the Tour of Britain I can get a win.”

Bennett knows that if he were to succeed in either of those goals - netting the Irish title or a stage in the Tour of Britain – that a big contract would likely await next year. He’s currently with the An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly team but moving to a Pro Continental or WorldTour squad is certainly a medium term ambition.

“That is always the goal. I always want to try to move up and make something of myself.”

As he stated after winning stage three of the race last week, he had a long period of time without a win. After landing his first last Tuesday, the second came yesterday afternoon in Skerries when he plus his team-mates Nicholas Vereecken and Shane Archbold took first, second and third on the final stage.

Bennett said afterwards that because he had been ill in recent days, that he wasn’t sure how he would feel at the end of the concluding stage. However as the sprint neared he was feeling good, and he finished well clear in the gallop to the line.

That has given him a renewed motivation. “I am real confident in my sprinting again and positioning,” he said in the video above. “I also have to thank the team for that, because I wouldn’t have got the result without them.

“I think it put a lot of confidence back in my sprinting and my speed, and I am happy to go and try and get some more results.”


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