Bennett targets breakthrough season
About to begin racing some five months after he placed 10th in the world under-23 road race championships, Irish rider Sam Bennett has said he is determined to have a breakthrough this . The 22-year-old was speaking yesterday at the launch of this year’s An Post Chain Reaction Seán Kelly team in Tielt, Belgium, and articulated what is a growing confidence amongst the Irishmen in the squad.
Like his compatriots Ronan McLaughlin, Seán Downey and newcomer Jack Wilson, Bennett has his mind set on having his best season ever. “I definitely would like some wins. I am here to win,” he told The Irish Times. “I am here because I want the number one slot.” Bennett’s chances of progress will be helped by the knee operations he has had this winter.
McLaughlin’s aggressive ride in last autumn’s Tour of Britain, his participation in the Elite world road race championships and some very solid form at the recent Volta ao Algarve suggest he can continue to move forward in 2013. Downey also said he is positive about the season, with 11th in last year’s European championship time trial hinting at his potential. As for Wilson, the 19-year-old is on an important learning curve.
General manager Sean Kelly pointed out as a Continental squad racing against bigger setups, the team often punches above its weight. “The line-up is promising and we should have a very good season,” he said.
He also spoke about the fact that on Thursday the 2013 start of the Giro d’Italia is expected to be confirmed for Belfast, with Dublin also to feature on the route. “It is a good thing for cycling in Ireland for a race like the Giro to start and have a number of stages there,” he said. “It creates a big interest. For the Irish riders . . . on teams, it will be a very big thing.”