Daniele Bennati signed for Team Liquigas this last off-season but has not yet had a chance to race for his new team due to knee problems. The 27 year-old Italian from Arezzo, winner of two stages at the 2007 Tour de France, vows to be back in time for the Giro d'Italia.
"I went back out on the bike today [yesterday - ed.] after a two week stop," 'Benna' said of his ride yesterday to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
He was signed by Liquigas to help enforce the team along with Filippo Pozzato, but was forced to miss the first race of the season in South Africa and, more importantly, he will have to skip Milano-Sanremo. His left knee suffered from cartilage and ligament problems since January.
"For one month and a half I trained with pain, skipping the [season] debut. However, it seems that now the pain has finally passed," he added.
Thought missing Sanremo, and its run-up event, Tirreno-Adriatico, Bennati hopes to be in shape for the Giro d'Italia, May 10 to June 1. "I have really missed the races and I am sorry to see Sanremo go up in smoke, it is the race of my dreams. It has been a hard blow. Half the season has passed without me being able to confirm myself to the new team. I count on returning and being competitive at the Giro d'Italia."
Soon after Liquigas signed 'Benna' there were speculations that he and Pozzato might find the kitchen too tight for two head cooks. However, Liquigas now has reassurance that when one of their captains is misfiring it has the other.