Three-time stage winner in the 2007 Vuelta Valenciana against Italian sprint-gun Alessandro Petacchi, Daniele Bennati is now pointing towards Paris-Nice, where above all he will be searching for form for the upcoming Classics but noted that a win would not be so bad.
During this last week, Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Innergetic), who will also be racing in France, noted that his key rival for the future is Benna. "Bennati will be the most dangerous rival for me in Sanremo." The Belgian sees the Italian as a danger-man for one of his key objectives, Milano-Sanremo, which is only 12 days away.
Benna noted his purpose in France is only for form, but that a win, especially against the 2005 World Champion, would bring him pleasure. "My real objective here in France is to better my condition in view of the Classics," said the 26 year-old to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "But I will not hide the fact that I would like to collect a win. It is not important who I win in front of, but certainly if in the photo there is Boonen then it would make me even happier."
The sprinters will have their chances on the first three stages.
Sunday, the Paris-Nice started off with a prologue, where Bennati finished 13th at six seconds back in the 4.7 kilometre run. He wants to better himself in this field so that he can combine it with his sprinting talents to take the leader's jersey in the big stage races.
"I want to try all I can to improve my form in this event," he said Saturday before the start of the race. "This is a specialty I can use in the future, for the Tour de France, and the other Grand Tours. Last year, in the Tour's prologue I arrived 18th. I think that am endowed for this event even if, up until now, I have not trained specifically for it. I believe it is important to become used to it and to approach it with the right mentality."
After the Paris-Nice Benna will cape off his training for one of his season's major objectives, Sanremo. "Maybe I will go to review the finale, above all the descents of the Cipressa and Poggio."