Sam Bennett’s coach says he is on track for a very strong Tour de France

Dan Lorang says cyclist will alternate periods of specific training and competition

With one month to go until the Tour de France, Sam Bennett’s coach has expressed optimism that the Irish sprinter will be fully ready to challenge for big results in the race.

Bennett won two stages plus the green jersey in 2020 but missed the race last year due to a knee injury. The problem sidelined him for several months and required a long period of time to return to form, but he clocked up his first victory in the Eschborn-Frankfurt race in Germany on May 1st.

Now coach Dan Lorang has told The Irish Times that he believes Bennett is on schedule for a big July.

“I am really confident that Sam is on track for the Tour, and that we will see him there at his best and that he can fight for the green jersey,” he said.


Bennett has competed just once since the Eschborn-Frankfurt event. He rode the Rund um Köln on May 22nd, but was forced to ride defensively when Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates Nils Politt and Danny van Poppel went on the attack with one other rider, Nikias Arndt (Team DSM). Politt ultimately soloed to victory and Van Poppel took second. Bennett was in line to win the bunch sprint for fourth but sat up too soon and was passed by the Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange — Jayco).

“He thought he already had the fourth place but didn’t see Groenewegen passing,” Lorang explained. “But he had it in his legs to win the sprint from the group.”

The Tour de France will begin in Copenhagen in Denmark on July 1st. Lorang has detailed the path Bennett will take to the race, telling The Irish Times that he will alternate periods of specific training and competition. He will return to racing on Saturday in the Heylen Vastgoed Heistse Pijl, then will contest the Brussels Cycling Classic on Sunday and the Ronde van Limburg on Monday.

Following another block of training he will begin the five-day Baloise Belgium Tour on June 15th. That stage race is scheduled to be his last period of competition before the Tour, meaning he will miss the national road race championships.

Outside of racing, Lorang said that he will work in a methodical way with Bennett.

“From now until the Tour, we are always working in blocks, in terms of his training,” he explained. “We will be checking where he is at the moment and what we have to work on. In general we will continue like that, always keeping a balance between trying to keep up his high aerobic capacity, giving some stimulus to that area, and then, on the other hand, going closer to races working on the anaerobic power. Particularly this short thirty seconds to one minute stuff.

“We have also intensified the gym work, but we will now try to switch that a little bit. So, going from more gym work to a little less gym work, and [instead] doing really specific exercises on the bike.”

He said following a structured approach is vital, adjusting things where necessary.

All going to plan, that will see Bennett equalling or even bettering his 2020 Tour de France performance this July.

In other news, Cycling Ireland has announced the line-up of the national team selection for the Rás Tailteann. Promising under 23 riders Archie Ryan, Dean Harvey, Adam Ward and Paul-Antoine Hagan will join up with the older Rory Townsend, with the 26 year old acting as road captain during the stages and providing guidance. He is also a strong rider in his own right and will be in contention for stage success.

The event will be the second stage race of the season for Cycling Ireland’s Under 23 Road Programme, following last week’s Flèche du Sud in Luxembourg. Harvey was the only one out of the Rás selection to compete in that race, netting seventh on the final stage on Sunday. Another young Irish rider from that squad, Matthew Devins, was ninth on stage three; he will compete in the Rás Tailteann as part of the Trinity Racing team.

Ryan has taken several good results this year after returning from a knee injury, and will take some time away from his Jumbo-Visma Development Team to compete in his first Rás.

The five riders will benefit from the knowledge of former world track champion Martyn Irvine, who will be the sporting director of the squad.

“Flèche du Sud was a huge confidence boost for the team who worked extremely well together and came away with two top-10 finishes against some quality riders,” he said.

“The Rás provides another opportunity for our talented young riders to gain exposure to racing at a high level. We’re looking forward to racing on home roads and seeing what we can achieve together as a team.”

Meanwhile the Rás Tailteann organisers have announced that Bective Stud will sponsor the daily county rider’s classification during the five day event. The name of the equestrian company will appear on the distinctive blue jersey worn during the race, which will take place this year for the first time since 2018.

Welcoming the backing, race organiser Gerard Campbell said that there is an apt parallel. “In some ways An Rás Tailteann 2022 shares a similar evolution with Bective Stud, both having surmounted multiple challenges in recent years in the pursuit of re-establishing themselves. Of course, Bective Stud also strives for and promotes similar sporting heritage and values, striving for excellence in equestrian sport in particular just as we endeavour to do in our sport.”

The company is well known in equestrian sport and has seen owners the Moran family work hard since 2016 to restore Bective House and its surroundings to their former standing. This project has included the development of an equestrian centre and the stud itself, with several well-known Irish thoroughbred racehorses residents there.

“We are keenly aware of the efforts of this group has made in the last few years to put this event back on the road,” said Jayde Massey, the company’s office manager. “We at Bective Stud see many parallels with an Rás Tailteann and are proud to support its resurgence in 2022.”

The Rás Tailteann will begin in Dublin on Wednesday June 15th and will conclude on Sunday June 19th. There will be stage finishes in Horse and Jockey, Castleisland, Lisdoonvarna, Kilbeggan and Blackrock, Co. Louth.