Sam Bennett withdraws from world road race championships

Rider decides not to represent Ireland as he continues comeback from a knee injury

Sam Bennett has decided not to compete in the road race at the cycling world championships. Photograph: Faugere Franck/Inpho

Sam Bennett has decided not to compete in the road race at the cycling world championships. Photograph: Faugere Franck/Inpho

 

Although Sam Bennett is back racing after suffering a knee injury in early June, the Carrick-on-Suir rider has taken the decision to withdraw from Ireland’s team for the elite road race at cycling’s world championships.

Bennett was due to line out alongside Ryan Mullen, Rory Townsend and Eddie Dunbar in Sunday’s road race, but has now decided that his physical condition is not advanced enough for the event.

“It is always an honour to represent Ireland on the international stage,” Bennett said in a Cycling Ireland statement on Tuesday morning. “However, unfortunately competing in this year’s world road championships will not be possible.

“I am very happy to be back racing pain free and with each race I know my fitness levels and race sharpness are improving. However at this stage, a gruelling 260km+ race is probably a step too far.”

He wished the other team members luck for the event and said he would be “supporting them from afar.”

Bennett spent several months out of competition due to the knee injury, which occurred when he hit his knee off his handlebars while training prior to the Baloise Belgium Tour in June. He was forced to miss that event and also to forgo participation in the Tour de France, where he was hoping to repeat his success of 2020. He won two stages plus the points classification in that race, and was bitterly disappointed not to be able to compete again this year.

Bennett returned to competition in the European road race championhips on September 12th. The tough course plus a lack of racing fitness meant that he was a non-finisher there, and he has also been a non-finisher in two Belgian races he has done since then with his Deceuninck-QuickStep team.

It is not yet clear what other events he will do this season. He is set to return to the Bora-hansgrohe team in 2022.

Ireland’s world road championships campaign continues on Tuesday afternoon when Darren Rafferty and Conal Skully compete in the junior men’s road race. Rafferty was a superb fourth recently in the same event at the European championships, missing out on a medal by just two seconds.

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