Bennati ready to work for Sagan and Contador in 2015

Tinkoff-Saxo sprinter becomes road captain in the Classics and stage races

Daniele Bennati faces a huge workload at Tinkoff-Saxo in 2015 after accepting the role of road captain for both Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador.

The 34-year-old Italian has been a professional since 2001, switching from a sprinter and Classics rider to the role of road captain and domestique in the last two seasons. He has won 50 races during his career but his last was a stage victory at the Vuelta a España back in 2012.

"I'm happy and proud to be considered a road captain, I don't see it as a step down in my career," Bennati told Cyclingnews.

"Even if you don't have any direct, personal satisfaction, because you're not winning yourself, it's great to ride for someone like Alberto Contador. He was the world's best rider and arguably still is. He's a special rider and a special person. With the arrival of Sagan, I'm proud to be working for both of them,"

Contador insisted that Bennati was part of his Tour de France squad in 2014 but the Arezzo-born Italian faces an extra workload with the arrival of Sagan. He will shadow, mentor and work for the Slovakian in the first part of the season and then ride the Tour de France again in 2015.

"Alberto wants me to ride the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France with him but with the arrival of Sagan in the team makes it difficult," Bennati explained.

I've been asked by the team management and by Peter to ride with him from the Tour of Qatar until Paris-Roubaix. It's the right thing to do because I think I can play an important role for him and help him. We'll then prepare for the Tour de France, where I'll be helping Peter in the sprints and Alberto for the overall classification."

Bennati is convinced that Contador can win the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France double, and that Sagan can win two major Classics, as team owner Oleg Tinkov recently predicted.

"Alberto has set himself the goal of winning the Giro and Tour. It's not easy and hasn't been done since Pantani in 1998. But we all know how determined he is in races. Of course winning is never easy. We'll find out in the summer if he does it but I think he can.

"I also hope that Peter goes on to win two Classics. He's incredibly strong in lots of ways, probably like no one else in the peloton. It's true that he's still yet to win a major Classic but he went close in 2014, while even making some mistakes. Nothing against his former teammates but I think he'll have better support in 2015 and that will give him the confidence to race even better and win even more. I hope to play a big part and be with him in the key moments of the big Classics."

Bennati's road captain role means he has accepted that he will have little chance of riding for himself to win races, even if he has a new contract with Tinkoff-Saxo that runs until the end of 2016.

"I don't really know if I'll be able to win again. It would be nice but we'll see how the season goes. Peter is the team leader for the sprints and the Classics. That's only right. I'll be happy to do my job and do whatever the team asks me to do. The important thing is that we win as a team and win big."

Bennati will join his teammates for a training camp in Sicily in the new year and is expected to make his season debut at the Tout of Qatar (February 8-13).

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