Skip to main content


Sam Bennett last rode the Tour de France four years ago, when he won in Paris on the Champs-Elysées, but now the Irishman is on the cusp of a return (Photo: Pauline Ballet)

Sam Bennett’s hopes of making the Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale team for the Tour de France in July will bolstered when he roared back to form at the recent Four Days of Dunkirk, winning four stages and the overall.

And now the Irishman looks like his name will definitely be on the team sheet announced for the French Grand Tour in coming weeks after being included in his team’s selection for the upcoming Critérium du Dauphiné (2.UWT).

The week-long race, which gets underway in Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule on Sunday, is the traditional fine-tuning outing for riders with hopes of making their Tour teams, and performing over three weeks in July.

It will be a much harder outing than the Four Days of Dunkirk, with longer, tougher stages and much higher quality opposition.

However, if Bennett’s recent wins were the first step in returning to the highest level – which means winning again on the Tour – then his inclusion in the Critérium du Dauphiné team is the next development in that process.

Sam Bennett already has one victory in Criterium du Dauphiné on his palmares, from 2019 when he beat Wout van Aert to the chequered flag at the end of stage 3 into Riom (Photo: Alex Broadway)

He is part of a strong selection, in a season when his team is enjoying an incredible run of success, which also includes Edvald Boasson Hagen and Oliver Naesen, both of whom can be crucial support riders for the Irishman in the sprints.

The team also includes Bruno Armirail, Clement Berthet, Dorian Godon and Nico Prodhomme and is a strong unit, with Godon also showing a turn of speed – and skill in the bunches – that could aid Bennett or deliver stage wins for himself in France next week.

Bennett has ridden the Dauphiné three times in his career and has, surprisingly, only taken one stage win there. He was victorious on stage 3 of the 2019 edition, into Riom, where he saw off Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) and Davide Ballerini (Astana Pro Team) for victory.

A stage win in the 2024 edition would really confirm his return to top level after his recent success and he may get a chance as early as the first stage, which looks suited to the sprinters.

As that opener, and perhaps stage 5 to Saint-Priest look like the only two obvious stages for the fast men, the field is not expected to be stacked with sprinters, though Mads Pedersen is already confirmed for Lidl Trek.

#Sam #Bennett #closer #Tour #France #return #Dauphiné #announcement

Source link