Sam Bennett cleared to race in...


Sam Bennett cleared to race in this year's Tour de France

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Sam Bennett looks set to defend the green jersey at next month's Tour de France. 

The Carrick-on-Suir sprinter has been struggling with a knee injury, which has curtailed his preparations for Le Tour.

Bennett was forced to withdraw from the Tour of Belgium, and replaced by experienced Deceuninck Quick-Step teammate Mark Cavendish.

30-year old Bennett was given this week as a deadline to prove his fitness for the Tour de France, which has its Grand Départ in Brest on June 26.

CyclingNews reports that Bennett has indeed been given the green light to compete by his team.

Last year he became the first Irish rider since Sean Kelly in 1989 to claim the green points jersey on Le Tour.

Cavendish had been sent to Tuscany to prepare with the team this week, but in conversation with The Telegraph this week, the Manxman conceded Bennett were the team's priority.

"I’d love to go to the Tour, of course I would," Cavendish said.

"Ultimately we have Sam Bennett who won two stages last year and the green jersey.

"He’s the logical guy to take. He’s the sprint leader of the team. But I’m sure Sam will only go if he’s 100 per cent fit.

"Obviously there is a lot of pressure on him as the green jersey winner to perform. I’m sure he will do what’s best for the team.

"Sam is a pro. I just have to be ready in case I’m needed."

Meanwhile, Bennett will be joined in the Tour field by Dan Martin

He's been confirmed as part of the Israel Start-Up Nation team for this year's Tour de France. Martin will join Chris Froome and team leader Michael Woods.

“I took training a little bit easier after the Giro," Martin said, "And I have done more intensity over the last few trainings. I feel recovered and ready to race.

"Racing my ninth Tour de France is something I was planning from the beginning of the season and I am happy that I am racing it, especially as it brings me back to the Mûr [de Bretagne].”

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Cycling Dan Martin Mark Cavendish Sam Bennett Tour De France

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