THIS week I have been talking with professional cyclist Sam Bennett of the Bora-Hansgrohe team

The Northern Echo: Sam Bennett of Bora-Hansgrohe

Why do you cycle?

As a kid, all I wanted was to ride a bike. I was pushed towards other sports but I wasn't having it! Luckily for me, there were some amazing people in my local community that recognised something special in me and with their help and encouragement I get to ride my bike for a living and that's pretty special.

I'm also a very detail oriented person which is beneficial to what I do. I love that together with my coach, Dan Lorang, we can analyse the numbers and get the most out of my potential, be it watts, cadence or endurance. I will sit and read articles online about how best to work the right muscles in the gym and I'll spend hours checking my bike position with plum lines and spirit levels. The little things matter and I'm meticulous to a fault!

What do you ride?

The Northern Echo:

Myself and my team mates, at BORA-Hansgrohe, are immensely lucky. We ride Specialized bikes. Their new Tarmac is honestly the best bike I've ever ridden. It's stiff, light and so responsive! As a sprinter, my machine of choice is the Specialized Venge and it is as fast as it looks. I love a good echelon, give me a cross-wind in Qatar and I'm happy, and there's no better bike than the Venge in those race conditions. Pity my Irish skin doesn't like the Arabian weather as much as my legs do!

Tell me about your favourite route?

I come from Sean Kelly country, in southern Ireland. While I can admit that the Irish weather doesn't lend itself to ideal cycling conditions, my home roads are special. Playing to my own strengths, the rolly roads allow me to put the power down and get the watts up and I'm not hampered by climbs between efforts. I always feel stronger after a stint on Irish roads but now that I live in the south of France, I don't get the opportunity to ride along my own coastal routes half as often as I'd like.

Tell me about your best cycling memory?

For me, my first UCI World Tour win stands out. I won Stage Five of the 2017 edition of Paris Nice and it was special. The whole team rode amazingly that day and brought me into the closing kilometres perfectly. As the finish line approached it was all up to me. Crossing that line with my arms in the air ended a 28 year gap since my fellow paddy, Stephen Roche, won a stage of The Race To The Sun!

What do you consider your most important piece of cycling equipment?

My helmet! Cycling is a dangerous sport and too many lost their lives on Irish and UK roads in 2017. I'm a big advocate for road safety. Specialized provide me and my team with helmets and they're fantastic. For aero dynamic efficiency, they're tested in wind tunnels and this year ours are an all-over shade of turquoise in an attempt to make us more visible on the road which was an excellent move by Specialized to keep us that bit safer.

If you could cycle anywhere where would that be?

Riding down the Champs Élysées at the final stage of the Tour de France is the best place in the world to ride your bike. Every sprinter dreams of winning there. The atmosphere is electric, the excitement and relief of the peloton having finished three weeks of crushing physical effort manifests into a final, lightening-speed stage. The crowds are remarkable too! Nothing quite compares to that.