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Irish sprinter used to the pressure of winning
Irish neo-pro Sam Bennett has had an impressive start to 2014 with his new NetApp-Endura team with three wins to his name but the 23-year-old is still hungry for more success and wants fans to expect him to be mixing it up in bunch sprints.
"As a sprinter you have to believe in yourself and you have to really want to win and if I win by half a bike length, I'm not happy," Bennett said. "If I win by a bike length, I'm not happy because I didn't win by two bike lengths. I am always aiming to get the best performance out myself.
Bennett announced himself to the cycling world with victory on stage 5 of the 2013 Tour of Britain along with two second place finishes which led to him signing for NetApp-Endura a month later after three years with An Post ChainReaction.
Bennett wants to be "one of the top sprinters in the world" and a "household name" mixing it with the likes of Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and his move to NetApp-Endura is another step in achieving that goal.
Bennett has a taken a while to adapt to his new surroundings but with "fantastic" and "welcoming" teammates, he is feeling more settled in the team and confident in his decision.
Despite being tipped as one of the nine-riders who will line up in Leeds for the Tour de France for July 5, Bennett is relaxed under the pressure.
"I always had pressure as a kid coming from Sean Kelly's hometown but then you get one or two results and everybody is building up pressure saying you're the next big hope but I think I'm used to it now.
"I don't really feel pressure much anymore and it would be worse if they didn't have that belief in me because sometimes I don't have that believe in myself."
The main goal for Bennett in 2014 is simply to continue improving and making steeps on his aspirations to become one of the world's best sprinters. Although due to his good results, he has said that "I'd like to win the UCI Europe Tour."
Watch the video below to find out more about Sam Bennett and don't forget to subscribe to the Cyclingnews YouTube channel.