Deceuninck-QuickStep sprinter Sam Bennett has said that he hopes to retain his Tour de France green jersey in 2021, adding that he'll widen his horizons by also targeting one-day races during the upcoming season.
The Irishman enjoyed a strong debut season with the Belgian team in 2020, moving on after six years in the Bora-Hansgrohe set-up. He won seven races, including two stages at the Tour de France, one at the Vuelta a España, and one at the Tour Down Under.
Speaking at the Deceuninck-QuickStep pre-season media day, Bennett outlined his goals for the new season, his eighth as a professional.
"I don't know if I can top that," he said, referring to the green jersey he won in September. "But I'd like to go back, get some more stages and see how I go trying to defend the green.
"I'd also like to go to something like Milan-San Remo and try to get a one-day WorldTour win. Those are ambitions of mine this season."
Milan-San Remo is quite a challenge considering the race has been won more and more often by small groups of late attackers in recent years, but several other WorldTour races also fit the bill.
There's also Gent-Wevelgem, where Bennett finished 12th in 2014, the Bretagne Classic, which he's raced twice, and German races Eschborn-Frankfurt and the EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg.
It remains to be seen what Bennett has on his schedule – both Milan-San Remo and Gent-Wevelgem are pencilled in, though – but wherever he goes, he'll certainly be accompanied by lead-out man Michael Mørkøv.
The Dane was by Bennett's side for all but three of his 58 race days in 2020, the sole constant in the best lead-out train in the sport. He confirmed that the partnership will continue this season.
"Basically, I'm on a program with Sam Bennett since we worked very good together last year," Mørkøv said. "We'll see If we can continue that.
"Obviously for everyone it's exciting to have Mark Cavendish back on our team to see how he'll develop, and which races he will do."
Bennett was also enthused by the Briton rejoining the 'Wolfpack' after five years away, spent at Dimension Data and Bahrain McLaren. He said that having Cavendish on the team will only be a help, specifically with the mental side of racing.
"I suppose [I'll learn] the approach, how to approach it mentally and deal with pressure," Bennett said. "I suppose he's a guy who has dealt with expectation – he's someone who, if he won two stages, people would say it's a bad Grand Tour for him.
"He's set the bar really high for himself so there's always that expectation on him. Just learn from his experience, his mind-frame and how he approaches the big races."
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Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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