Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) lines up in today’s UCI 1.HC Sparkassen Münsterland Giro where he will be amongst the favourites to take the win, in a race that traditionally ends in a sprint finish.
The Irish rider will be hoping to capitalise on the form which saw him put in a great performance in last weekend’s World Championships, where he was still in contention until the closing kilometres.
Amongst the other favourites are Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quick Step) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin). Kittel has won here twice previously, in 2011 and 2012, but has struggled this season. It was announced yesterday that he is leaving the Giant-Alpecin team and is rumoured to be joining Etixx-Quick Step.
The race has also been won twice by Andre Greipel, but he is not listed amongst the provisional starters. Greipel won last year’s race ahead of John Degenkolb, and Degenkolb is another top name rider who is not due to start.
Other riders who could challenge for the win are Sep Vanmarcke (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) who is capable of attacking from distance and Roy Jans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).
Jans, a former team mate of Bennett on the An Post team, is in very good form at the moment. In recent weeks, he has placed 2nd in the Brussels Cycling Classic (1.HC), 3rd in De Kustpijl (1.2), 5th in Grand Prix d’Isbergues – Pas de Calais (1.1) and 6th in Primus Classic Impanis – Van Petegem (1.HC).
Bennett will be hoping to add to his tally of four wins this season, having taken stage victories in the Tour of Qatar (2.HC), Bayern Rundfahrt (2.HC) and the Arctic Race of Norway (2.HC). Following on from Sparkassen Münsterland Giro, Bennett will line up in Paris-Bourges, another race which suits sprinters.