Sam Bennett interview. Bora Hansgrohe captain for the Giro d’Italia 100, is ready to fight for a victory.
What has changed for you personally & maybe in the peloton since your first World Tour victory?
My self confidence has been the greatest change. I find that I have more belief in my abilities. I have a more confident approach to my training and race preparation as I know now that what I’m working at is effective. This has given me more belief in myself as I approach the Giro d’Italia.
I’ve noticed a change in the pro peloton since my stage win at Paris Nice, riders expect me to contend a sprint finish rather than being surprised that I’m a contender at the end of the stage.
It´s not your first Grand Tour but it will be your first Giro, what does it mean to you to be part of the 100th edition?
The 2017 Giro is going to be really special. I’m looking forward to being a part of the 100th year of such a important and prestigious event on the Grand Tour calendar. I have no doubt that it is going to be a really tough 3 weeks. I have seen the parcour and not only is the route going to be extremely demanding but with it being such an important year at the Giro, every rider will be hungry to leave their mark with a stage winner or by winning a jersey. It is also a huge opportunity to showcase our sponsors and I hope to represent Bora Hansgrohe to the best of my ability, on the road.
Did u pick up some stages for yourself?
At this point in my preparation I try not to focus too heavily on any particular stage of the race. Right now, I want to get myself in the best possible shape. I have the full support of my team this year so I’m putting in the hours to ensure I can be fresh at the finish line. I will target any stage where I am fresh coming into the finish and I have the support of my team mates.
How is your preparation for this Grand Tour?
Currently, I’m at altitude in Sierra Nevada. I trained at altitude prior to Paris Nice so I think that I am one of the lucky riders who sees the benefits of this kind of training. I travelled here with my girlfriend and my team has also kindly sent my coach, Dan Lorang, here to work with me and to monitor how my body is responding to the being at 2,300m above sea level.
I’m in full race mode at the moment, the Giro is my sole focus. I really wanted to test my form at the Tour of the Basque Country but, unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling well. The team understood this and sent me home so that illness could not interfere with my preparation for the Giro.
Do you remember when you heard the first time about the Giro? can you remember 1987 when Stephen Roche won?
No, I do not remember the victory of Stephen Roche at the Giro because I was born in 1990, three years after his win.
Stephen has always been really supportive of me and he is a legend in the sport. I have huge respect for Stephen and what he achieved in his career. He has left a huge legacy for Irish riders to follow and if I could win a stage I would be only the second Irish man in history to do so. The Giro d’Italia is momentous for Irish cycling fans and that makes the race even more important for me.