The Giro d’Italia is just three weeks away, and Sam Bennett is the most prolific sprinter of the professional ranks in the 2019 season so far, raising questions over Bora-Hansgrohe’s choice not to select the Irishman for the corsa rosa, where he won three stages last year, including the grand finale in Rome.
Only Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) has won more races  than Bennett in the current season. The fast man from Carrick-on-Suir told Cyclingnews that he is proud to have crossed the line first at least once in each stage race he has taken part in this season: the Vuelta a San Juan [stage 7], the UAE Tour [stage 7], Paris-Nice [stages 3 and 6] and now stages 1 and 2 of the Presidential Tour of Turkey. Beating Fernando Gaviria, Caleb Ewan, Alexander Kristoff and Elia Viviani in Dubai was a masterpiece. In Turkey, he managed to outsprint the likes of Fabio Jakobsen, Ewan and Mark Cavendish.
“I didn’t really know what my condition was like after having a break and putting on some weight after Milan-San Remo,” Bennett said after stage 1 in Terkidağ. “But I knew I’d come back in form quickly. I just didn’t know for which stage.”
Bennet’s sixth win in the technical and uphill finish of Eceabat on the Gallipoli peninsula was very impressive. The second most successful sprinter of 2019 is Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) with five wins while Viviani has four and Gaviria three. Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel and Peter Sagan have just one victory each, whereas Cavendish is yet to win this year. German national champion Pascal Ackermann has claimed two victories: Clasica de Almeria and Bredene Koksijde Classic.
Ackermann is the designated sprinter of Bora-Hansgrohe for the Giro d’Italia starting in Bologna on May 11, and Sagan remains their star rider for the Tour de France.
“There are the Giro and the Tour that I really wanted to do,” Bennett replied when asked if his success so far increases his disappointment at being left out of his team’s selection for the Giro and Tour. “Whether I was doing the Giro and the Tour or not, I approached the season in the same way: as a professional. I thought with the results I have they’d be open to new ideas, but it doesn’t matter.
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