Deceuninck – Quick Step has announced its selection for the Championship of Flanders, which will be held next Friday in Koolskamp. It is striking that the name of the Irishman Sam Bennett has been added to the selection.
On Friday in Koolskamp, Sam Bennett will race in a Deceuninck – Quick-Step jersey for the first time since the Tour of the Algarve. Afterwards, the Irishman injured his knee and missed the Tour. In between, he arranged his departure to Bora-hansgrohe. The relationship between the sprinter and Patrick Lefevere soured, to the extent that the team manager threatened legal action. But Bennett tried to play the game smart. The UCI regulations allow teams to halve a rider’s wages after three months of inactivity during which he is not race fit. That period seemed to expire, until Bennett calmly started the European Championship in Trento on Sunday. “He drove seven kilometers,” says Lefevere. “Good on him, because we couldn’t refuse that selection for Ireland and he avoids the UCI rule being activated.”
Another UCI rule states that when teams refuse to field race-fit riders for a period longer than six weeks, they are committing a grave error here. That is also the reason why Ilan Van Wilder drove the GP Wallonie yesterday and Team DSM does not make any mistakes. For the same reason, Lefevere now has to let the contested Bennett race once every six weeks.
“From now on he will ride every race”
“From now on, he’s going to drive every race we can line him up in. On Sunday he will also participate in Gooik, on Tuesday he will start in Vichte plus everything that comes afterwards. He himself wanted it that way. I am suddenly sorry that the Tour of Guangxi in China has been canceled,” said Lefevere, who is currently present in the Tour of Slovakia and will not be present in Koolskamp on Friday. “When I get back and I run into Sam, we’ll see each other.”
To be continued.