Movistar Team’s new faces for next season (2/6)
Italian asks for injury-free 2017 season in Movistar Team debut; will "gladly" devote to teamwork in Grand Tours after seeking for individual chances at spring classics, including Sanremo and Roubaix
A temptation assaults the interviewer as he meets Daniele Bennati, when it comes to talking previous individual success. Yet the second most veteran rider within Eusebio Unzué's ranks for 2017 -36 years old; 15 seasons in the pro scene; 54 victories, including stage wins in all three Grand Tours- comes into the Movistar Team to offer strength in present tense, and become a vital member of the group. He immediately gives off dignity and lordship when coming across his way for the first time, values so necessary into a sport and team so rich in tradition and sensibility as cycling and the Blues.
“I couldn't enjoy the team meeting in Pamplona in late October as much as I'd have liked to know the group well, because I spent the first day in my room, sick, unable to get off my bed. However, what I found during the rest of the week was an atmosphere really close to my lifestyle, so similar the Spanish attitude to the Italian. I had always wanted to ride for this team at some point, and always kept a very good relationship with Eusebio, yet, by many reasons -being under contract with other squads; some different preferences from either myself or Eusebio during my career-, there wasn't a real chance to make it real until today. We both knew that the team I was part of was folding after 2016 and my contract was expiring so, ever since the late part of 2015, we keep talking to each other so I could make it into the team. I'm so happy to be part of this family, and I want to make sure that all my experience can be passed on to my team-mates and make the group stronger."
Long focused on seeking for sprint victories in the past, his latest stretch (2014-16) with Tinkoff saw the man from Arezzo combining that individual role, in more sporadic rations, with invaluable teamwork on the flat. “These are two very different labours, but I know I can do well on them, one task at a time. Looking at my 2017 calendar, I'd like to focus on that individual role early, seeking for some space in classics like Milano-Sanremo or Paris-Roubaix, to later devote myself gladly to Alejandro and Nairo, especially into Grand Tours."
Bennati will be the seventh Italian rider to be part of the Abarca Sports organisation in its 38 years of existence. “Even though he's not part of the team anymore, Giovanni Visconti has helped me much to understand how things work into the team. He's told me wonders about the atmosphere surrounding this group, and I know that he also told Eusebio lots of good things about me. I know him well, as I do with Adriano Malori. We all know how much he has suffered to get back on track after the horrifying accident he experienced in January. The whole group, including myself, must remain by his side, as close as possible, to help him our in his recovery – every single member of this team and many others outside want him to get to the same level he was showing before his crash."
Daniele doesn't look for any goals in particular in his 2017 season. “Above all, what I want is not to suffer from crashes like last year's. I had to stay 50 days completely still due to my fractured vertebra in Milano-Sanremo, so my health will be the most important thing come 2017. Should that new season be fortunate physical-wise, results and teamwork will surely follow. I'll put all of my energy into that."