While Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Sam Bennett has grown accustomed to winning the biggest bike races, having taken two Tour de France stages and the green jersey in 2020, he has also had to get used to the fact that becoming one of the best sprinters of the peloton doesn’t seem to improve how recognisable you are.
After being mistaken numerous times during the 2020 season, there are no signs of this changing in 2021, as Irish television channel RTÉ used a picture of one of his Deceuninck – Quick-Step team-mates as they tried to honour the Irishman at a prestigious awards ceremony.
While showing the shortlist for RTÉ Sport’s Sportsperson of the Year, which included boxers, footballers and jockeys, a picture of Frenchman Remi Cavagna was projected onto the big screen alongside the other Irish athletes.
The broadcaster says they’ve apologised directly to Sam Bennett for the confusion and blamed a mislabelled photo. The offending image from Getty is indeed labelled as Sam Bennett, despite being a picture of Cavagna on the podium at the 2020 Vuelta a España.
With the awards show pre-recorded two days before the programme was aired, no-one managed to spot the mistake, with the absent Irish tricolour on the jersey sleeves a giveaway that they had got the wrong man even if the mask obscured the majority of the rider’s face.
At last year’s Tour de France, where Bennett made good on his high-profile move from Bora-Hansgrohe to Deceuninck – Quick-Step, the Irishman was twice mistaken for his namesake George Bennett, who rides for Jumbo-Visma.
Bennett was asked by one journalist how he would go about supporting Jumbo-Visma’s GC objectives with Primož Roglič while also going for stage victories himself, while French television also asked Roglič before another flat stage whether he would be working for George Bennett to win the sprint that day.
The good news is that Bennett’s hometown of Carrick-on-Suir definitely know who he is, with Bennett thanking his community for the support received during an unforgettable year for the sprinter.
We should assume the latest mix-up hasn’t caused too much offence in the Bennett household, however, with the 30-year-old recently starring in a television advert for Dublin Bikes, where he takes abuse from a Dubliner who fails to be awed by his compatriot’s achievements as a pro cyclist.
“It’s not a nappy, it’s for comfort,” Bennett says at the end of video after the man ridicules his bib shorts.