I have nothing in the fight. I understand business and contracts and arbitration, but sometimes a person or team or business just has to do the right thing . . . or is it the “right thing”? Sam Bennett is an incredible sprinter in the UCI professional peloton and is stuck. Without knowing the rider personally, with the likes of attitude or just plain personality, I cannot understand why Bora Hansgrohe needs to keep Bennett on their team . . . other than they do not want to beaten by a guy who use to be on their team. This is kind of like the famous college football coach “Bear” Bryant who would recruit a great quarterback he did not need so that no one else could have him.
Bora has Peter Sagan. Bora also has Pascal Ackermann. The team chose Ackermann for the Giro. Obviously, Peter for the Tour. Then Bora threw Bennett a bone by sending him to Spain. Their team objective is quite clear. Sprint for the win in all three grand tours. Okay, that’s fair. Now, Bennett wants out. Deceuninck Quick-Step wants him. It really boils down to a man’s word. If Sam Bennett has already signed an agreement with Bora for 2020, then he must stick to his commitment. In today’s society where the word “decommit” has become the norm, it is not much of a shock anymore. Although once a rider is legally bound to a team by signing something, it is hard to back out.
So what does Bora have to gain by releasing Bennett? Free up some money to get someone of a lesser caliber? Bora is clearly not interested in pursuing a GC contender, so they would have to find a strong sprinter to replace Bennett, so it is a lose/lose for them. Bora Hansgrohe did not enter a heavy cycling sponsorship to further Sam Bennett’s career, but I can suspect that they do not want a pouting sprinter taking up a space either. Sam should keep his word and do his best for the team in 2020. Yes, it is another year off of his career, but as long as he works hard and shows results, he will make himself even more desirable when his contract runs out.