BORA-hansgrohe sprinter Sam Bennett is taking part in the Tour of Britain for the first time since 2013. A very special event for the Irish top sprinter, because ten years ago, his career took a decisive turn right exactly here.
The Welsh town of Caerphilly plays a comparatively small role on the map of world cycling. For Sam Bennett, however, the community of 30,000 inhabitants is a very important place. Ten years ago, the Irish top sprinter won the fifth stage of the Tour of Britain exactly here – and thus celebrated the first big victory of his successful career.
What hardly anyone knows is that if Bennett, at that time 22 years old and still wearing the jersey of the small Continental team An Post-Chain Reaction, had not been so successful at the Tour of Britain, his career might have taken an entirely different turn: “It's true: Without this stage victory, I wouldn't be here today. If I hadn't taken the win in Caerphilly, I would have gone back to university in Ireland. Instead, the win opened the door to the professional peloton for me,” he says.
Indeed, after the Tour of Britain, Bennett signed his first professional contract with the BORA-hansgrohe predecessor team NetApp-Endura. What followed was a success story: To date, the Irishman has taken more than 60 professional victories, including winning ten stages in all three Grand Tours.
At the Tour of Britain, Bennett now returns to the place of his first big victory – exactly ten years later. This year's edition (from September 3rd to 10th) will once again stop in Caerphilly as part of the eighth stage. Will he be able to repeat his victory? Bennett is optimistic about the race: “I think there are plenty of opportunities for sprinters, and we have a strong team at the start. With that in mind, I'm really looking forward to the race.”
BORA-hansgrohe Tour of Britain 2023 line-up
BENNETT Sam (Ireland)
GAMPER Patrick (Austria)
POLITT Nils (Germany)
SCHELLING Ide (Netherlands)
VAN POPPEL Danny (Netherlands)
WALLS Matthew (Great Britain)
Photo: Sprint Cycling Agency