Joan Martí Bennassar, professional experiences in the Challenge of Mallorca
The season of the Alberto Contador Foundation’s U23 team is about to start shooting, it will do so between February 16 and 17 on the occasion of the XX edition of the Manuel Sanroma Memorial in Almagro (Ciudad Real), but one of the members of the squad has had the opportunity to start his campaign earlier. And to do it in a professional framework such as the Challenge of Mallorca.
Joan Martí Bennassar, enlisted with the Spanish National team, has given the Kometa Cycling Team presence on the roads of the island. The cyclist from Marratxí was from the start in the four races of Challenge 2019, forming part of a team made up of Albert Torres, Óscar Pelegrí, Unai Iribar, Joan Albert Riera, Julio Alberto Amores, Marc Buades and Pau Llaneras, among others.
“I am very grateful to the team for this opportunity, has behaved very well,” says the Balearic rider, who joined the concentration of Oliva Nova late on Sunday in order to officially appear with the team led by Rafa Diaz Justo. “They have made a great sacrifice because the Challenge trophies coincided with the concentration prior to the official presentation of the teams of the Kometa Cycling Team. Most of the teams would not have let me participate. But they didn’t have any problems, despite competing with the national team. The team has made a great effort and this presence has also allowed me to do good training, to get more rolling”.
Bennassar would take part in all four trophies, although he would only finish (and do so in the thirty-first position), the last of them all: the Trofeo Palma. Already in 2018 he had the opportunity to compete in the Trofeo Lloseta-Andratx enrolled in the national team, but in this 2019 has been able to take a step more. “All the Balearic cyclists who make track, almost everyone, have the opportunity to compete in the Challenge. Last year I was able to do a stage. And this year, as a prize for having competed in the Junior World Championship or in the European Championship, I was told that I could compete in the trophies I wanted. In the end, as it was a good preparation, I opted for all four. If I didn’t see well, being a Challenge, I did what I could and did good training,” contextualizes the Mallorcan rider. During the first stage, in fact, he suffered a fall without consequences about twenty kilometres from the finish: “Nothing serious, it was a lurch and we went a few”.
“Of the four trophies, three were very clear: the first, second and fourth day. The Trofeo Ses Salines on the first day made me very excited, because I was finishing high and I was very curious to see how I was doing. The Trofeo Andrax-Lloseta was the one I made in 2018, although this year the route was not exactly the same, and I wanted to see how far it would go. And the Trofeo Palma wanted to ride it because I really wanted to be able to compete in the Paseo Marítimo. It was a dream I had since I was a child. My first race, would be in beginner category or so, in academies, took place there. It was a special day. The circuit was somewhat smaller than the professionals and after the different categories then you could stay and see the professionals. Even if you won, you could go up to the podium with them later, during the podium ceremony. It was a memory of my childhood there and now that I was 19, I wanted to do very well,” explains Bennassar.
On the experience of this 2019 against WorldTour and continental professional teams and riders, the cyclist says: “I expected him to go up fast, but I didn’t expect him to go at full speed on the plain. In the part where you can get some air, it wouldn’t stop. Personally, I went there almost worse than climbing! There was no respite, it was the whole day fighting with the wind, with the fans, with the curves, rolling ‘encunetados’ … In placement and wind conditions I do not feel bad. Generally speaking I was expecting what I found, there is nothing I can say ‘this was very different from what I thought’. That’s right, you’re going out at full speed. In the amateur category, when you’re looking for leaks, you have to ride at full speed from the start. Between professional wheels at full speed and you go half way through the pack or even to the tail. And yes, you think, with how fast I’m rolling and I’m going almost behind”.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)
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