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All eyes will be on Sam Bennett in his debut for…

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Sam Bennett eyes return to Tour de France in 2020

Bennett sets sights on Tour selection for 2020 with new team Deceuninck-Quick-Step, with classics success a longer-term ambition.

Sam Bennettheads into 2020 with new team Deceuninck-Quick-Step and his eyes on the prize of a Tour de France start.

The Irishmanmoves to the Wolfpackafter five years with the Bora franchise. His spell with the German team saw him rack up three victories at the Giro dItalia, two at the Vuelta and three in Paris-Nice, but for the past three seasons, he has beenoverlookedfor Tour de France selection.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step was one of my dream teams, especially growing up when I was a teenager, Bennett said in an interview with Irish outletRT.

It was something I definitely wanted to be a part of. It was an opportunity that came around at the right time. I couldnt let it go.

Though Bennetts period with Bora allowed him to develop himself into one of the most prolific sprinters in the peloton, he was often left disappointed when the  Tour de France squad was announced. Sharing a team with Peter Sagan and GC contender Emannuel Buchmann leaves little space for pure sprinters.

I feel like Im coming to a high level, said Bennett. I really want to get back to the Tour de France; its a big target of mine.

Quick-Step are more of a sprint team and they look for more stages in races rather than the general classification. For me its the perfect team. Im going in as one of their lead sprinters so Im getting really well looked after.

Although the Tour de France is the objective in the short term, the Irishman wants to broaden his horizon beyond bunch sprints. Bennett cites fellow Tipperary man Sean Kelly as a role model. Kelly took wins across at Milano-San Remo, Paris Roubaix, Giro di Lombardia, and Liege Bastogne Liege, as well as having the kick to win a more traditional grand tour sprinter stage.

As I get stronger, the engine is getting bigger. Im able to be more versatile in the races I can compete in, he said.

Maybe in the future, hopefully I can be more like Sean [Kelly] in the Classics, but for now Im looking more at the bunch sprints and stuff like the green jersey in the Tour de France.

And its not just Bennett who thinks he can feature in the spring races Quick-Step director Brian Holm recentlyspoke to VeloNewsof his belief that Bennett could thrive in the classics, especially with the support of the fleet of one-day specialists in Quick-Steps roster.

But first things first, Bennett knows he needs to make the cut to be selected in a team packed with talent.

Quick-Step is a strong team and Id have to make the cut In cycling, youre only as good as your last race. I just have to show that Im in form, that Im not putting on weight, that Im still performing.

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VeloNews magazine will bring you inside the sport of bike racing, with exclusive features, analysis, expert training advice, unbiased gear reviews and the absolute best cycling photography.

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