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by Mark Zalewski
December 30, 2016
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Van Aert extends series lead with Azencross win; Sanne Cant wins Azencross; Frustrations as no proof of innocence given to parliament in Wiggins case; Syncing with Sagan: Sam Bennett looks ahead to 2017; Van der Poel okay after hard crash; Stybar makes return to cyclocross in Azencross; More questions arise from Tour of Qatar cancellation; Family of fallen cyclist calls for safer roads; Jens Voigt to ‘Everest’ Berlin Teufelsberg hill for charity; Video: Best of 2016 by bike; Ride along with Wout van Aert.
Sam Bennett has been his team’s main sprinter for three seasons but that will change in 2017. The Bora-hasgrohe team has stepped up a gear with a move to WorldTour and, more significantly, the signing of key riders including world road race champion Peter Sagan. Together with Rafal Majka and Leopold Konig, the new roster ensures the team is far stronger than before. This strength is certain to change how it approaches races. No longer an underdog, the German team will enter the sport’s top events with realistic expectations of success.
For Bennett, the signing will also change things. Speaking to CyclingTips, he spoke about fitting in alongside Sagan, and how that will affect his programme. However he sees pluses too: while his role will be different in some races, there are advantages for him in the signings which have been made.
“I feel things are different already,” Bennett told CyclingTips, speaking at the recent team media day in Valencia, Spain. “Last year you had to win in the first race. I was always thereabouts for the first month but never actually did the result. I felt a lot of pressure, especially in the build-up to the season.
“This year there is a lot less. Maybe the new signings will help, maybe take a bit of pressure off. But again the pressure came more from myself rather than the staff. So we will see how it goes.
“But there are definitely a lot more sprinters this year. In the last three years whenever I wanted to sprint I could sprint. I still have my own race programme, I have my own targets, but you have to give a little also.”
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