Sam Bennett will not ride Tour de France
Neither Bennett nor his team have confirmed if he will ride this year’s Vuelta a España
Sam Bennett of Ireland and Bora-Hansgrohe celebrates as he crosses the line to win the Men’s Towards Zero Race Melbourne during the 2017 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 26, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
Although he went extremely close to a stage victory in the Giro d’Italia, taking one second place plus a hat trick of thirds, Sam Bennett’s Bora-hansgrohe team has confirmed that he will not ride the Tour de France.
The Carrick-on-Suir rider was absent from the team long-list announced this week, and will not be present in the July event. A total of 14 riders were named, including world champion Peter Sagan and double King of the Mountains winner Rafal Majka, with Sagan to fill the sprinter’s slot in the race.
Last winter Bennett told The Irish Times that he was open minded about doing the Giro and the Tour. “I don’t know if my body would be able for it, but I am still in talks,” he said then. “I am not pushing for it, but if it happens it happens. It would be very hard to do the Giro and then the Tour, but I will keep open-minded.”
However he saw a potential benefit to missing the Tour, saying that his first two experiences of riding the race had been difficult due to illness and injury. “It is a special race, an amazing race, I absolutely love it, but I just need a year out, I think.”
Neither Bennett nor his team have confirmed if he will ride this year’s Vuelta a España. However it seems logical that he will do that race. Riding two Grand Tours in the same year will help his development, and his near-misses in the Giro suggest he could well take one or more stages in the event.
In other news, Irish rider Greg Callaghan continues to lead the global rankings in the Enduro World Series, despite having an off day last weekend. He was competing in the Coillte Emerald Enduro at Carrick Mountain, Wicklow, the fourth round of the international competition.
He finished tenth in the contest on Sunday but had enough of a buffer to hold his lead. Meanwhile his cousin Killian Callaghan was fourth in the men’s under 21 category and is number one in that age group globally. Irishwoman Leah Maunsell was a fine second in the under 21 women’s race.
The edition was the third running of the event at Carrick Mountain and brought huge crowds. The Enduro World Series continues with rounds in France, the US, Canada and Italy.