For the second consecutive 12 months, California-native Sean Bennett was on the hunt for a staff because the calendar rolled into a brand new season. This time round, nonetheless, the previous WorldTour rider had a contract for a ProTeam that didn’t exist and put an sudden halt to his skilled highway profession on the age of 26.
The ever-optimistic and soft-spoken Bennett discovered a house final season on the Continental degree with China Glory Biking Crew. The primary-year squad of 13 riders representing seven international locations arrange a house base in Good, France and set its targets to maneuver up in standing straight away. Bennett mentioned he signed a contract extension in October with the staff going to ProTeam degree, however the staff didn’t full their funding with UCI paperwork and scrapped the mission for subsequent season.
Bennett mentioned he had “good reminiscences” however was additionally left with the bitter frustration over the ultimate months of 2022 to not have affords from different groups and “watched my profession slip away”. Nevertheless, in an interview with Cyclingnews, he mentioned, “I’m not performed with the game”.
“I’m nonetheless younger, and that is one thing that is going for me. I’m nonetheless actually motivated, clearly. It is one thing that I am fairly bummed about. I’m not performed with the game,” Bennett informed Cyclingnews from his residence in El Cerrito on the east facet of San Francisco Bay.
Bennett mentioned he signed a contract in the midst of the 12 months to maneuver to China Glory’s proposed ProTeam and stopped on the lookout for one other staff. Then the wheels fell off.
“On the finish of October, they weren’t positive in regards to the ProTeam. And so they simply by no means reached out to me once more, despite the fact that there’s one thing on paper for a ProTeam,” Bennett mentioned. “It was similar to nothing occurred there. They’d all of the paperwork submitted to UCI. It is simply the funding was from China, and so they simply by no means made the switch [of funds] to UCI for the ProTeam.
“Then, I went again to the seek for groups on the finish of November and into December, and nothing got here.”
China Glory Biking acknowledged lately it could look to extend the variety of Chinese language riders on the squad from six to eight for 2023 however didn’t affirm if they’d renewed on the Continental degree.
“Some good reminiscences over the previous few years. Fairly pissed off and unhappy about how the previous few months went down. Watched my profession slip away from me and depart me with out a staff for subsequent 12 months,” Bennett wrote on his Instagram account Sunday.
“It’s been a irritating few winters being on this state of affairs the place a staff folds or modifications their concept on the final minute. I’d hoped to proceed however nothing materialized this 12 months and it’s time to say goodbye. Thanks for the those who had my again in previous instances like this and supported me via it.”
As a 22-year-old gaining traction in addition to the highlight on the highway with Hagens Berman Axeon, Bennett moved to the WorldTour with the EF Schooling squad for 2 seasons, which gave him Grand Tour expertise on the Giro d’Italia, the place he completed ninth in a bunch dash on stage 18 in 2019. He was lauded at his quick time at EF Schooling for his bike-handling talents, which he discovered from his early days in mountain biking to his versatility from climbing to sprinting and tactical talents to discover a breakaway.
He moved throughout to Crew Qhubeka in 2021, which allowed him to compete in his first Tour de France. Nevertheless, on the finish of the season, the Qhubeka programme folded, and Bennett was on the hunt for a contract. He landed at a brand new Continental squad, China Glory Biking Crew, which allowed him to proceed racing in Europe and Asia for a full season.
It was with the Hagens Berman Axeon staff that he moved onto the radar for the WorldTour groups together with 2018 teammates, which included soon-to-be WorldTour mainstays João Almeida (UAE Crew Emirates) and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) in addition to a trio of different UAE Crew Emirates teammates – Mikkel Bjerg, Rui Oliveira and Ivo Oliveira.
Bennett mentioned that his finest reminiscences of 2018 included a second-place end on the Tour of California in entrance of his household. He was solely three seconds behind stage 3 winner Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) in an thrilling dash end on the Laguna Seca Speedway that day, and he additionally held off a late cost by the highest sprinters on the planet, together with Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan. Then a month later, he received a stage on the Child Giro and had prime 10 finishes on levels on the Tour of Utah and Colorado Basic.
After three seasons within the WorldTour, Bennett has strong outcomes again on the Continental degree in 2022, scoring prime 10s on levels on the Tour of Slovenia and Tour of Turkey.
“It was a brief profession, however over the course of my profession, I received fairly into teaching, coaching, diet and that facet of issues. Perhaps I wasn’t essentially the most gifted, however I do not know, I felt like by investing extra time into that, I might consider methods to type of meet up with everybody else via diet and completely different coaching. So I am pondering I wish to pursue one thing in that space,” he mentioned a few teaching profession, one possibility out there on the West Coast.
Would Bennett be open to persevering with his racing pursuits with off-road occasions? He laughed however mentioned a fast “sure” about returning to his mountain bike roots.
“I am so motivated to journey and race, however it could undoubtedly must be an excellent match and one thing that received me on board. Undoubtedly, I wish to proceed racing. However I even have a life that requires cash to dwell. And it is not one thing that I can simply do free of charge at this level.”