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“The squad worked so hard this year for me, so it was only natural for me to work for them today. If I don't feel in great shape and I can help Bennati or any other rider, then I will do it in the benefit of the team."

Photo: Tinkoff Sports A/S




08.10.2015 @ 18:10 Posted by Andy Pedersen

A swap of roles was carried out on the opening stage of Abu Dhabi Tour, as Peter Sagan chose to play the part as team domestique and lead-out for Daniele Bennati after two, hectic weeks of public events following his World Championship win. Bennati ultimately finished 3rd behind winner Andrea Guardini after a shortened stage in hot conditions.


Reacting to his third place in the final sprint and the change of in-race duties, Daniele Bennati says:


"Normally, I should be working for Peter Sagan and not the other way around.  It was an unusual day but we also know that Peter, despite being the World Champion, is a generous person and a great team member. With 50km to go, he told me he wouldn't do the sprint but instead, the team would work for me. I told him we would all sacrifice ourselves to help him but he didn't feel in good shape and decided I would be doing the sprint”, comments Daniele Bennati.


“I assumed the fact I would be doing the sprint and I pushed as hard as I could in the final kilometers with the rest of the squad doing a great job to support me. It was an incredible sprint but it suited Guardini, who was faster today. I could have gotten second place but I think I relaxed a split second and Boonen grabbed the opportunity right on the finish line. It was an emotional finish for me because it is not often I have the brand new World Champion working for me!", adds Bennati, while teammate Peter Sagan elaborates on the weeks after his Richmond victory.


"The World Championships and the obligations I had in the period afterwards took their toll on my form. It was nearly two intensive weeks of public and media events during which I didn't have the sufficient time to rest and recover. I simply didn't feel in shape today and the heat didn't make things easier. We will see how I feel in the coming days and we will adapt our strategy”, tells Sagan after the race finale, where the World Champion put in a long lead-out.


“The squad worked so hard this year for me, so it was only natural for me to work for them today. If I don't feel in great shape and I can help Bennati or any other rider, then I will do it in the benefit of the team. This is a team and we all work for each other”, adds Peter Sagan.

After a sudden change of pace within the main bunch, the final escapee was caught with one kilometer to go, followed by a 600m finishing straight, where Andrea Guardini proved the fastest.


Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Tristan Hoffman notes about the 159.5km stage from Qasr Al Sarab to Madina Zayed:


“Peter said that after the World Championships he had a lot of obligations, so he didn’t sleep a lot, he didn’t train a lot and he told that he wasn’t at his best. I explained the guys that they had to talk to each other and coordinate because Bennati could also do the sprint. That’s what happened and I’m happy with the third place. The boys did really well in assisting each other here in the heat. They stayed hydrated and didn’t struggle too much. It wasn’t super crazy in this heat, nothing that our riders couldn’t handle and they went down to the team car many times to get bottles”, comments Tristan Hoffman before adding:


“I think it was a good idea to remove the last lap. In the end, I think the winner would have been the same, so it didn’t change that much. We will have to see how Peter develops during the race. Naturally, with him being in the World Champion’s jersey, it would be nice if he could do the sprint one time. If he doesn’t feel good, that’s how it is and then he’ll help Bennati, who we saw also has good speed in the legs”.



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