“Down and Out” with Sean Bennett and Nate Brown – the story of a rookie at his first three week Grand Tour
A little over three weeks ago, our rookie, Sean Bennett stepped down off the team bus readying himself to step onto his time trial bike to warm up. The trepidation painted across his face was clear as day, as he tried to steady his nerves ahead of the first day of his first Grand Tour. When it’s a time trial day, the waiting around can be excruciating. The slow hours and minutes passing just add another layer of anxiety.
Being up on that start-ramp waiting the countdown can’t come soon enough. With that first pedal stroke the race, the next three weeks of a rider’s life, becomes a journey into the unknown, with uncertainty if he’ll make it through those 21 days. The finish in Verona seems so far away, in both distance and time.
At the end of stage one, Bennett came to a standstill and unclipped at the top of the climb just over the finish line, gasping from his time trial effort. There was an air of relief, the first stage ticked off.
“Well done, you just completed the first stage of your first Grand Tour,” I said.
He smiled, cheeks puffed out through a long exhale.
A week earlier on a phone call to one of Bennett’s fellow Giro teammates, Nate Brown, when asked what he was looking forward to most about the Giro d’Italia, he replied: “I found out the other day that Sean’s doing it and he’s never done a Grand Tour so I’m pretty stoked.
“I asked to be roommates with him because I think that we can get along great. I mean, going into your first Grand Tour you don’t really know what to expect. I remember my first one, you have no idea, so if I can give him a bit of knowledge to help him get through, he’ll be just fine.”
With his mentor by his side an idea started to formulate, how could we record this venture into the unknown for this wide-eyed 23-year-old? A podcast diary, of course.
So a few days before the start a deal was made, Nate Brown agreed to take this project into his hands. He tasked himself with getting Sean on board and promised they would let us inside their Grand Tour experience. The gritty and the good, the highs, the lows, the inconceivable level of fatigue. The moments of elation to the moments where Sean believed the daily time cut was going chew him up and spit him out, thinking his first Grand Tour dreams were certainly going to be crushed on stage 13.
The tales they give us are of peloton antics and chatter; what it feels like to be a baller and attack the break; to getting two top tens in your first ever Grand Tour.
Questions such as:
“Where has all the respect gone?”
“Who did win the time trial bet?” Are pondered in their moments of downtime.
It’s a three week story where we hear how this neo-pro, rookie dug in and clung on.
Do they make neo-pros how they used to? You’ll have to listen to find out…
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