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Sam Bennett to leave Deceuninck-Quick-Step at end of season
Super-sprinter Sam Bennett will be leaving Deceuninck-Quick-Step this winter.
Team boss Patrick Lefevere confirmed to Wielierflits on Sunday that the Irish fastman would not have his contract renewed at the end of the year.
“He doesn’t want to leave, but I don’t have as much money as certain others,” Lefevere said.
The 30-year-old only joined Quick-Step last season and immediately struck up an unstoppable relationship with leadout man Michael Mørkøv. The duo combined to deliver Bennett the green jersey and two stage wins at the Tour der France, and a further stage win at the Vuelta a España. The pair have proven equally dominant through the opening of the 2021 season.
With Bennett’s stock soaring, the Irishman is said to have generated a tide of offers from rival teams that Lefevere could not match.
“I used to have to negotiate for two days during the Tour de France, now I have been besieged by managers for two days. I had to go from meeting to meeting,” Lefevre said. “Whether it is purely a matter of money? You have to ask Bennett that, his manager might want it.”
The news comes just the day after Lefevere also confirmed that João Almeida would also be leaving the team at the end of the year.
Annemiek van Vleuten wins overall at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana
Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) defended her overnight lead to secure the overall in the final stage of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana on Sunday.
Urška Žigart (BikeExchange) won the final stage into Alicante, attacking from the bunch and holding off the chase to beat teammate Arianna Fidanza and Sheyla Gutiérrez, who rounded out the podium.
“When I was about six kilometers to the finish, the gap was coming down really fast because they were preparing for the sprint from the back,” she said. “At that time, I was thinking I am not going to make it, they’re going too fast, and I had a headwind, but my director was yelling in my ear to push through and telling me I can do it and to believe and I made it so I am very happy.”
Žigart’s victory made for yet another Slovenian cycling success. The 24-year-old hails from Slovenska Bistrica and currently dates Tour de France champ Tadej Pogačar.