Sam Bennett ruled out of Milan-San Remo Classic through illness

Irish sprinter had targeted longest Classic as part of building up his race fitness

Sam Bennett has joined a list of big-name riders to miss Saturday's Milan-San Remo Classic in Italy, with the Irishman scratching from the start list due to illness.

Bennett's Bora-hansgrohe team announced on social media on Friday that he was ruled out of the event. The team confirmed that he hadn't caught the stomach virus going through the peloton which has put paid to the chances of last year's runner-up Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) plus others, but that he had another illness.

“It’s a kind of ‘normal sickness’ after Paris-Nice with a sore throat, etc,” said a team spokesperson. “It’s not Covid, fortunately.”

Bennett has previously targeted the event, which is the longest Classic in pro cycling and often ends with a reduced bunch sprint into San Remo.

He was unlikely to contend for the win this year as he is still rebuilding racing condition after missing several months last year with injury. However, riding the race would have helped him to continue sharpening his form. It is not clear what his next event will be.

Also missing Milan-San Remo through illness are defending champion Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), the 2019 winner Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and the 2015 victor John Degenkolb (Team DSM).

Meanwhile, young Irish talent Archie Ryan crashed out of the Youngster Coast Challenge in Belgium on Friday. He fell early on in the event, hitting his knee on the ground.

Ryan missed most of the 2021 season to a long-running knee problem but, according to his Jumbo-Visma Development Team the Wicklow rider is cautiously optimistic that the crash will not aggravate what is an otherwise resolved issue. Matthew Devins (Trinity Racing) was also a non-finisher.