Daniele Bennati (Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project) is aiming to compete in all three Grand Tours in 2011. The Italian has won stages in all of the major stage races during his career and he is hoping to add to his tally in his first season with the new squad.
“I’m the team’s number one sprinter and they want me to ride the Giro, Tour and Vuelta,” Bennati told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ll take them one at a time. I’ve only ridden the Giro once but I won three stages, the points jersey and enjoyed great popularity, so I love it for that reason.
“At the Tour, I’ve won from a break and in a mass sprint in Paris and I’d like to win the green jersey. Then the Vuelta also has a particular fascination. It will be hard to finish them all.”
Bennati’s Grand Tour-laden programme means that he will limit himself to just one northern classic, Ghent-Wevelgem. “I’m sorry, but that’s my choice,” he said. “Flanders and Roubaix are races that I’m mad about, but in the last two years the cobbles have given me Achilles tendon problems. If I want to ride the Giro as a protagonist, I just can’t afford that.”
The Italian will begin his season in the Middle East with the Tours of Qatar and Oman, before returning to race on home roads in the build up to Milan-San Remo, his first major objective of the season.
Bennati joins the Luxembourg Cycling Project after three seasons at Liquigas. He is excited by the challenge of riding for a foreign team but pleased that the squad also has a strong Italian presence.
“The group is the one that left Saxo Bank, but there is an Italian root,” Bennati said. “The team patron is Flavio Becca and Luca Guercilena and Adriano Baffi are among the directors, while Davide Viganò and Giacomo Nizzolo are among the riders. Also during the first training camp I spoke in Italian with my roommate, Fabian Cancellara.”
Learning English will be one of Bennati’s first challenges as part of the Luxembourg Cycling Project. “I’ve had lessons. Speaking is still a bit of an effort, but I understand almost everything,” he said. “Cancellara has assured me that by mid-season I won’t have any more problems.
“The danger is that all of my teammates, more or less, can speak a little Italian, so when they talk to me, I ask them to do so only in English.”
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