George Bennett insists his Tour de France aspirations remain undiminished despite the emergence of a world-class rider on his team.

Bennett skipped the 2018 Tour to contest the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana, and his LottoNL-Jumbo team shone despite his absence, with Primoz Roglic finishing fourth and Steven Kruijswijk fifth.

Roglic's performance was the most notable, with the 28-year-old Slovenian winning a stage as he confirmed his status as one of the world's best stage race riders and a threat to win a future Tour.

So how does that impact the leadership ambitions of Bennett?


According to the 28-year-old climber, 12th when leading the team at last year's Tour before he withdrew due to illness, there shouldn't be any issues.

"I've raced a lot with Primoz and Stevie and we often share leaderships - it's a good relationship the three of us have between each other. You see other teams have the double-pronged approach or even three guys, and if it's done right, it can be a real strength and provide more opportunities for me next year in terms of the Tour," he told Radio Sport.

Bennett admits the success of his team "definitely made [the Tour] harder to miss" but believes team-mates contending for the title can benefit his personal goals as well.

"We're a team which really gets on well and it can only be an advantage if we play off each other. You can send one guy up the road and if he's a genuine threat, it sends other teams on to the back foot.

"If managed properly and if we're all civil adults about it, I think there's no trouble. In Tirreno [Adriatico], I was racing with Primoz and we shared leadership, and the same with me and Stevie in [Volta a] Catalunya, and it all worked out great.

"We're pretty lucky like that; you see in other teams the internal rivalry being detrimental."

Bennett is likely to be team leader at the final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta, which starts on August 25, and is looking to back up his career-best eighth-place finish at the Giro with another strong performance.

Primoz Roglic placed fourth on the Tour de France. Photo / Photosport
Primoz Roglic placed fourth on the Tour de France. Photo / Photosport

Bennett has been training in the mountains for the past five weeks and is competing in one race before the Vuelta - the Tour of Poland, which started overnight. There, he's up against quality riders - the Team Sky duo of Michal Kwiatkowski and Sergio Luis Henao, 2017 winner Dylan Teuns, and Giro rivals Simon Yates, Thibaut Pinot and Fabio Aru.


Bennett isn't going all-out for major glory in Poland but wants to be in the mix as he tries out different training techniques and build-up strategies.

"I want to try and get through with a lower stress level - there's not pressure on for results or big personal ambitions because I think that was one thing - once I got to the Giro, I was already pretty tired.

"We're trying a few different approaches and we're going with a real low-stress approach for Poland.

"I want to be good - if you're not good in Poland, you're leaving it pretty late to be really good a few weeks later. The main thing I want out of Poland is the race intensity, especially focusing on those short, explosive finishes that are typical of a race like Poland and you see a lot of in the first weeks of the Vuelta."

While Bennett is still aiming for a quality result, he'll be taking a safety-first approach with bigger goals on the horizon.

"There's a couple of hectic finishes, one of them is just out of control - it's basically an 80km-90km sprint down the hill to the finish line. I'll be keeping out of that.

"Normally when you're riding for the overall, you have to be up there in the sprint stages in case there's a split in the bunch but I'll probably just kick around in the back and hope there's not a split, and if there is, that's just unlucky - I might take a hit to the GC but just remove the danger of being up there and save that for the three weeks in Spain, where you have to be there every day."