Sam Bennett hoping to bounce back after illness in Milan-San Remo

Bennett has long targeted the one-day Classic but has a best-place finish of 28th in 2019

Sam Bennett will line out in Saturday’s Milan-San Remo uncertain about his chances but hoping that the Classic plays out in his favour. The prestigious one-day race is almost 300 kilometres in length and concludes after an ascent of the Poggio climb close to the finish, with this ramp often breaking things up inside the final 10 kilometres.

Bennett has long targeted the race but has a best-place finish of 28th in 2019, with things never quite going to plan. His preparation has been less than ideal with a cold forcing him out of last week’s Paris-Nice with two stages to go.

Bora-hansgrohe head coach Dan Lorang is hoping that things will all come together for the race, but says he is unsure what to expect.

“With him getting the cold, it’s always hard to say because what can you do now after getting a cold at a race? Heading into the next race you can just recover, keep the body moving a little bit moving and hope that you’re back to 100 per cent,” he said.


“That’s why I think it’s a gamble how good he will be in Milan-San Remo. Everything is possible, but after sickness it’s always hard to give a definite answer.”

Meanwhile, Mia Griffin brought Ireland’s campaign at the Cairo round of the UCI Track Nations Cup to a close on Friday when she competed in the multi-event Omnium race. She finished 16th in both the scratch race and tempo race, 20th in the elimination, 19th in the concluding points race and 14th overall.

In France, Megan Armitage followed up her stage win and general classification in the recent Vuelta Extremadura Féminas when she lined out in the opening stage of the Tour de Normandie on Friday. The 139-kilometre stage to Bagnoles-de-l’Orne was won by French rider Gladys Verhulst (FDZ-Suez) in a bunch sprint. Armitage crashed and trailed in 52 seconds back as a result, placing 91st.

The three-day event continues on Saturday with a mainly flat 103-kilometre race to Flamanville.

Finally Commonwealth Games fourth-place finisher Matthew Teggart has been left searching for a team after the dramatic collapse of his AT85 Pro Cycling squad. The team, which was named WiV SunGod last season, issued a statement on Friday saying that it was no more.

“It is with great regret that we hereby confirm that AT85 Pro Cycling will no longer be racing in 2023,” it said. “Due to funding issues and an increasingly uncertain banking and finance sector, we are unable to commit to the financial outlays required to continue to race our intended programme in the UK and Europe.”

Team owner Tim Elverson said that he was “heartbroken to say that I see no option but to shut the doors with immediate effect.”

Apart from his superb Commonwealth Games performance, Teggart last year was also fourth in the mountains classification at the Tour of Britain, fourth in Paris-Troyes, won the opening stage of Rás Tailteann and dominated the National Road Series.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling