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Double Vuelta a España 2022 stage winner Sam Bennett will be able to return to training this week, with the Irish sprinter deemed to have recovered from the COVID-19 positive that ruled him out of the race.
Bennett showed a long-awaited return to form in the Spanish event, winning stages 2 and 3 and leading the green jersey competition for several days. He was five points behind Mads Pedersen heading into the stage 10 time trial and appeared poised for a big fight all the way to Madrid, but then had to withdraw from the race due to COVID-19.
Eight days on from that withdrawal, his coach Dan Lorang told VeloNews on Wednesday that all appears set for Bennett to get back on the bike.
“We had to wait until Sam is really clear from Covid, and also after he has done all the medical checks,” he said. “This is now the case. I think in one or two days if everything goes well then he can go back to normal training.”
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Lorang said that the team took a careful approach, wanting to avoid any possible complications by rushing things.
“We take enough time to take no risks for the health, especially for next season,” he said, confirming that 2023 is the priority. “For sure we are not making some mistakes in trying to come back too early.
“He has done all the checks and everything is fine. So he will be back on the bike in the next days.”
Bennett will want to get back into action soon, not least because he missed much of 2022 with injury, and was below-par as a result earlier this year.
He seemed closer to his usual condition in the Vuelta and while he told VeloNews that he wasn’t quite back to full form, he said that he felt he was getting stronger and stronger as the race went on. He suggested that the racing was bringing on his fitness and as a result, may well want to keep building in advance of next season.
However, the cautious approach being followed by the team means that his return to racing will depend on how things go with his training.
“For sure he wants to [compete] and we will try, but it is not 100 percent sure,” Lorang stated Wednesday.