Sam Bennett – The savvy analyst with lightning-fast legs
Sam started his professional career with the team in 2014, and after two years away, he’s back at BORA – hansgrohe. Now he’s the team’s go-to rider for fast sprint finishes. A good-humoured gentleman, Sam has much more to offer than just his lightning-fast legs.
Sam was born in Belgium where his father was a professional football player, before moving back to his parent’s native Ireland at the age of four. Sam describes himself as being ‘definitely 100% Irish’. He grew up in Carrick-on-Suir, which is also the hometown of Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly, which Sam only really appreciated once he had turned pro himself. He gave various sports a go: football, running, Irish national sports like Gaelic football and hurling. Then at age 9 he rode his first stretches on a mountain bike and then competed his first road races at 14. He moved to Marseille for his career at age 18 before spending four years in Belgium and then moving to Monaco, where he’s lived for the last seven years.
BORA – hansgrohe / Sprintcycling
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The savvy analyst
Sam has been fascinated with the speed and power of the peloton ever since he was a teenager. He was particular drawn to the top speeds. He analysed every last detail of sprints ridden by his role models Tom Boonen and Robbie McEwen, citing this as the source of his intuition for sprints. He knows that it’s not always the fastest who wins. Usually it’s the sprinter who has every piece of the puzzle just right: form, position, team, timing and a little bit of luck. That’s why he still examines every sprint in the search for perfection, tracking his lines, bursts of speed and his competitors in minute detail. This means that during the sprint he can be quick and explosive and make split-second decisions. Sam doesn’t conform to sprinter stereotypes – he isn’t boastful or egotistic. He switches off once a race is over, becoming a quiet guy with a good sense of humour who is self-deprecating, doesn’t take himself too seriously and chats casually with his competitors. Sam is authentic and sometimes wears his heart on his sleeve, such as when he was overcome with tears (of joy) during an interview following his first Tour de France stage win. Although he is humble, he has no doubts about what he’s capable of, and his successes are testament to that. At BORA – hansgrohe alone (including under its previous team name), he clinched 41 of his 56 wins as a pro, putting him at the top of the team’s leader board.
Home sweet home
After spending the last two years with Belgian team Deceuninck-Quickstep, Sam’s back with BORA – hansgrohe and more eager than ever to prove his mettle and once again be the key player in the sprint finishes. Even at 31, Sam looks like he’s not done honing his performance yet. What makes the team special for him? Obviously, it’s the typical German efficiency and the professional organisation, which is not always commonplace in cycling as it can sometimes be chaotic. Being back with coach Dan Lorang also means a lot to Sam. Dan played a major role in Sam’s development, so it’ll be interesting to see more fruits of this collaboration.
Sam’s favourite race is without a doubt the Tour de France where he won on the Champs-Élysées in 2020 – a dream come true for him. His other favourites include the Milan–San Remo race and the world championships, which have a unique appeal for Sam every year. He has also enjoyed the Paris–Roubaix race, but he definitely prefers his couch at home to the bumpy cobbles of northern France.
Petrol running through his veins
A self-proclaimed ‘petrolhead’, Sam is a speed fanatic in his personal life, too. He’s always indulging his passion for fast cars and motorsports, both actively and passively. This helps an analytical mind like Sam’s relax and think about other things. Racing on your own like Sam’s brother, who is involved in karting, is not an option for a pro cyclist.
He finds listening to hip-hop and R&B relaxing, as well as chilling at home with his wife Tara. They became parents in December 2021, bringing Sam joys at home in addition to his success on the road. When it comes to food, he enjoys Italian cuisine and steak in particular, but he prefers to let Tara take the lead in the kitchen. Vegetables are the only thing Sam has a problem with, but soups and smoothies help him to strike a balance between healthy eating and his personal preferences. Just like how having the right pieces of the puzzle ensures success, the same goes for eating well.
You can learn more about Sam on and off the bike in BORA – hansgrohe spotlight video: