Sam Bennett ‘looking forward to the fight’ as Tour de France return confirmed

Irish sprinter determined to repay Decathlon Ag2r La Mondiale for show of confidence in him

Sam Bennett will make his return to the Tour de France with the Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale team after a four-year absence from the race. Photograph: Francois Lo Presti/AFP via Getty Images

Sam Bennett’s spot in the Tour de France has been confirmed, with the 2020 green jersey winner set to return to the race after a four-year absence.

The Tour begins in Florence in Italy on Saturday and while the opening two stages are unlikely to see the sprinters feature, Bennett will be focused on seizing his chances at any opportunity after that.

“I can’t wait to fight,” said the 33-year-old on Monday in a Decathlon Ag2r La Mondiale team announcement. “I’m delighted to return to the Tour de France after a four-year absence. I’d like to thank the team for this incredible opportunity.”

Bennett missed out in 2021 due to a knee injury, and the following two years due to non-selection by his then team.


He was offered an important contract with the Decathlon Ag2r La Mondiale team to be a co-leader for key races such as the Tour, and is determined to repay them for that show of confidence in him.

“Coming back to the Grande Boucle with a French team is a special feeling,” he said. “To win a stage for this team in the world’s greatest race would be even more special. I’ve got plenty of time to get into the race, as the start is hilly.

“Nevertheless, every stage is important. The first opportunity will come after the opening weekend, and I hope to be ready for that. There should be eight massive sprints with lots of contenders. I’m looking forward to the fight.”

Bennett showed superb form recently in winning four stages plus the overall in the Four Days of Dunkirk race.

It was the first general classification victory of his career, and shows how well his form has built through his new collaboration with Irish coach Stephen Barrett.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

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