The transfer of Daniele Bennati from Lampre-Fondital to Liquigas during the off-season had some pundits shaking their heads, but as the 27 year-old sprinter from Arezzo, Italy, explains it was a matter of further fortifying an already a solid team. 'Benna' will find himself sharing the captain's role with 'Pippo' – Filippo Pozzato – however, he sees no problems and looks forward to staking claim to his first Giro d'Italia stage win.
"As far as I see there is no problem. Liquigas took me on as sprinter to reinforce the team. It is a role that I am up to after the wins last year in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. Pozzato will not want it any different," said Bennati to Luigi Perna of La Gazzetta dello Sport.
However, it was Pozzato who was battling head-to-head with Bennati during last year's Tour de France, where Liquigas' new recruit took two sprint wins to Pozzato's one win (in Autun). It is the attacking style of the longhaired rider from Sandrigo that sets the two apart, and will likely avoid any problems.
"In this team there is a team manager [Roberto Amadio] and the directeur sportifs that will decide," he continued. "I believe that I have never taken the cake from anyone else. Last year at [Tour of] Flanders I arrived strong, but I happily supported [Alessandro] Ballan. I don't see why we can't have the same in this team.
"I have respect for Pozzato. He has already won Milano-Sanremo, and in that race he will be our leader. However, if the sprint arrives and I am at one hundred percent I will want to contest the sprint."
'Pippo' will want the same for himself, and this could cause slight issues like what was seen when he raced for Quick.Step-Innergetic. "Honestly, I consider myself faster than him. Pozzato can attack on the Poggio, like he did in 2006 when he won."
In the Northern Classics, 'Benna' believes it will be the pavé that will make the deciding factor. "On the pavé the selection is natural, and to have up front two riders like us is only a good thing. Last year, Pozzato raced with [Luca] Paolini, and he went on to finish third [in the Tour of Flanders]."
After the early season, Bennati will take on the Giro d'Italia, which he usually skips. "I will go to the Giro for my second time, and I have a great desire to win my first stage. At Lampre they always denied me [a spot in the Giro]. At the Tour it would be wonderful to win again in Paris and conquest the green jersey."