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Sam Bennett has a great chance of winning Milan-Sanremo, but he’s playing down his chances of winning the sprinters’ classic tomorrow


Sam Bennett has said while he was “dreaming” and “fighting for” a monument win, having a chance at victory in tomorrow’s Milan-Sanremo may depend on wind direction.

“Just judging on my numbers, I am feeling pretty good, but it’s about having the legs on the day,” he said.

The Irishman, who has already won two stages at UAE Tour
and two stages at Paris Nice this year, said he was hopeful there would be a
headwind up the final climb, of the Poggio.

And if there was a headwind there he may be able to stay
with the riders better suited to climbing and then hope to use his sprint at
the finish.

Bennett went deep on the climbs at Paris-Nice last weekend in preparation for tomorrow’s race in Italy

Bennett clearly went as deep as he could on the climbs on the last stages of Paris-Nice last weekend with an eye on Milan-Sanremo; a race last won by an Irishman, Sean Kelly, back in 1992.

However, the 30-year-old Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider added
he was still trying to treat tomorrow’s race like any other event, in a bid to
ease the pressure.

“I think they still consider (Milan Sanremo) to be the sprinters’ monument, but I can’t see it. Each time I see it the group has gone up the road,” he said.

Van Aert beats Alaphilippe to win Milan-Sanremo last year. But could it come down to a sprint from a group this year; a sprint that Sam Bennett could win?

“Every year the standard is getting so high and guys are
going up the Poggio so quick. We’re going up the Poggio at the same speed as
the flat,” he added, explaining he really needed a headwind up the climb.

“I was just driving that direction today and it looked
like a tailwind in that direction. So it doesn’t really look that great for
myself. But all I can do is pray for a bit of headwind and try to hang on.

“I still have dreams of going back to the Tour and
winning stages there. But something that is missing is to win a classic, or at
least a one-day WorldTour race, it’s something I’ve never done.

“It’s something that I really want, something I’m fighting for. But so is everyone else. I just have to keep fighting and hopefully someday it’ll happen.”

With four wins already to his name this year – including this victory on stage 4 at UAE Tour – Bennett is likely to win a sprint tomorrow – if it boils down to a sprint from a decent sized group. But he has cautioned he needs a headwind to slow down the ascent of the Poggio

Bennett added the fact his team had such a strong line-up – which includes three potential winners tomorrow – would work to their advantage.

“I think we have many cards to play here with Julian (Alaphilippe), myself, and (Davide) Ballerini and I think we just have to use those cards to the best of our advantage,” Bennett said speaking to the media ahead of the race.

“Julian’s going to be extremely strong in the final,
especially on the Poggio. He can always say to the guys he has Sam Bennett
behind so he can play that card as well.

“It’s just going to work to our advantage; having this
strong team here. And hopefully we get the result we want this weekend.”

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