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From Carrick-on-Suir to the 'Côte d'Azur

Sam Bennett is a professional cyclist and is the best Irish sprinter since Sean Kelly, another who is from 'Carrick-on-Suir' Co. Tipperary. We go behind the scenes with him on his first Tour De France during the summer of 2015 - and also examine his life.

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4.1/5 (69 ratings)

Documentary Maker: Shane Stokes

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Documentary maker: Tim Desmond

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From Carrick-on-Suir to the 'Côte d'Azur

Sam Bennett has been a nomad in life: born in Belgium, he grew up in Carrick-on-Suir has been based in France, Belgium and now lives on the Côte d’Azur in Monaco.

His chosen profession has him travelling much of the year, living out of a suitcase and racing in a plethora of countries throughout the world.

Bennett is a professional cyclist and is the best Irish sprinter since Sean Kelly, another who is from 'Carrick-on-Suir'.

He’s 24 years of age and is regarded as a rider of huge potential. In his first two seasons as a pro he has notched up seven world-ranked victories and beaten many of the top names in the sport.

Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and multiple Tour de France green jersey winner Peter Sagan are all amongst those who he has left in his wake.

That ability is one reason his Bora Argon 18 team got a wildcard invitation to this year’s Tour de France, and also why Bennett was selected to the squad for the race.

This documentary is a behind the scenes insight into that Tour, but also into the other journeys he has travelled on during his life. Cycling journalist Shane Stokes looks at his early life and the path he took to get to where he is now.

He also examines with him, and those close to him, an up and down emotional journey which resembles the summits and valleys of a typical Tour mountain stage.

It hasn’t been easy for Bennett, who went close to quitting the sport on more than one occasion. He’s dealt with accidents, injuries, the pressures of internal and external expectations and a burden that few other Irish riders have had to shoulder.

It’s a cycling journey, but also a human one. It’s about the value of persistence and the need to keep battling on.

Shane Stokes is a journalist who has written for many international cycling websites and publications. He is the news editor of the CyclingTips website and has been the Irish Times cycling correspondent for the past 15 years.

Produced and narrated by Shane Stokes.

Production supervision by Tim Desmond.

Sound Supervision by Mark McGrath.

Additional material; Roy Willoughby and Dane Cash.

First Broadcast, RTÉ Radio 1, Saturday October 3rd 2015 @ 2pm

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries

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