Sam Bennett’s new coach convinced he can return to top form

‘Misconception’ that cyclist is past it, says Stephen Barrett

Sam Bennett’s new coach has expressed confidence that he can get back to his best, believing that the desire to win remains strong despite three years of disappointment.

Castlelyons native Stephen Barrett has been guiding Bennett in recent weeks, working closely with him after the Carrick on Suir man signed with the French Decathlon Ag2r la Mondiale squad. Bennett won the green jersey at the Tour de France in 2020, also taking two stages, but periods of injury, illness and non-selection since May 2021 have blunted his success.

Despite Bennett now being 33 years of age, Barrett is convinced that he will return to top form. “Over the past year or two he didn’t achieve what he what he felt he could achieve,” he told The Irish Times. “I think there’s that misconception that maybe he is past it. That there’s some better, younger, faster guys. But knowing Sam, and also from speaking to him now, I have no sense that he’s here to take the easy way out.

“From day one, he’s said he wants to win the green jersey. He wants win the points jersey in the Vuelta. He wants to win the points jersey in the Giro.

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“He has all these big ambitions still, because he knows he’s capable of doing that. I think we’ll see a refreshed Sam in his new colours in 2024. For me, what’s important is that he can execute and achieve what he’s capable of doing.”

Barrett has analysed Bennett’s racing and training data files from recent seasons and says he has identified key areas to work on, believing that this will lead to a return to top form.

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