Bennett to try to repeat successes of last year’s Presidential Tour of Turkey
Multiple Irish road race champion Lydia Boylan still without professional road team for 2019
Sam Bennett winning stage two of the Presidential Tour of Turkey in October 2017. Photograph: Getty Images
One year after dominating the sprints at the Presidential Tour of Turkey, Sam Bennett is poised to try to repeat that success. The Carrick-on-Suir rider will be one of the protected riders on the Bora-hansgrohe squad in the race, which begins in Konya on Tuesday.
Last year he won stages one, two, three and five, and looked set to win the sixth and final stage until he crashed close to the line. That fall saw him miss out on victory in the points classification, with Bennett slipping to second in that competition.
He had won the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro beforehand, and while things didn’t go as well this time around, with Bennett netting 11th, he will be aiming high in Turkey.
Thus far the 27-year-old has notched up four UCI victories this year, including three stages in the Giro d’Italia. He may well have accomplished more but his race programme with Bora-hansgrohe has been very quiet since May. He has raced only six times in that period.
The Presidential Tour of Turkey runs until Sunday week.
In other news, multiple Irish road race champion Lydia Boylan is still without a professional road team for 2019. She has been with the WNT-Rotor team in recent seasons, but expressed dissatisfaction last month.
“It is no secret that WNT-Rotor has not been what I hoped this year,” she said then. “I have had to watch good friends leave WNT-Rotor, staff and riders, from early in the year.
“My track commitments have made planning road more difficult but so far this season WNT-Rotor have ‘selected’ me for only one race. And for quite a while now I have not even had any contact from the team DS [sporting director].”
She said she would not be part of the squad in 2019, and was looking for other offers.
Speaking to The Irish Times on Thursday, almost a month after that initial announcement, she said she was still searching. However, she said that other priorities meant that search was less crucial than it might have been.
“With Olympic qualifying already beginning this year I definitely need to give track more attention. Having a road team is great for training and fitness and a break from the track but it can be a difficult one to manage.
“For the next two years I think I’ll try do things a bit more on my own terms. I’m not 100 per cent sure what exactly that looks like yet. But for sure, track will definitely be the focus.”