More than four months after Sam Bennett’s last race for Deceuninck-QuickStep, the team named him in their lineup for the upcoming Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen and Gooikse Pijl.
The 30-year-old Irishman last raced for the Belgian WorldTour team at the Volta ao Algarve. He was due to compete in this year’s Tour de France, but was dropped from the Deceuninck-QuickStep roster due to a knee injury. Team principal Patrick Lefevere, however, would later call out his own team’s star sprinter, questioning if Bennett wasn’t running was due to “fear of failure” and criticizing him for what he considered to be. inadequate communication with the team.
In August, Lefevere said Bennett would need knee surgery, ending his season, but Bennett then raced for Ireland at the European Championships earlier this month, reigniting Lefevere’s anger . Lefevere said Het Nieuwsblad last week he was attempting to reduce Bennett’s salary in accordance with UCI rules regarding long periods of absence from racing.
Now Bennett is apparently set to return to competing for Deceuninck-QuickStep. The team named him in their rosters for Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen, which takes place on Friday, and Gooikse Pijl, which takes place on Sunday, two UCI 1.1 classified events. A spokesperson for Deceuninck-QuickStep confirmed to CyclingTips that the team expects Bennett to attend both events.
Dutch speedster Fabio Jakobsen, who won three stages in the recent Vuelta a España, is expected to lead the team in both races, as Bennett’s expected role is less clear at the moment.