Bennett’s success sparked long celebrations as he shared a whiskey with his Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere and gorged himself on pizza with his teammates in the French capital, while on Monday night his hometown of Carrick-on -Suir was organizing a parade in his absence.
The soft-spoken 29-year-old has now spent several days in the spotlight – something that hasn’t always happened despite previous successes at the Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana and elsewhere.
He insisted he never needed recognition, but that didn’t stop him from wondering why he hadn’t understood it.
“I am competitive at the highest level and have been for a number of years,” he said.
“It’s not that I play sports just for that, but I sometimes thought, ‘Am I doing something wrong? Did I say the wrong thing? “It was strange. But I knew that to get this recognition I had to do it in the Tour.
“Again, I’m not a guy who likes to be in big groups, I like my quiet night, so after putting myself in the position, I don’t know if I really want to be there.
Like it or not, Bennett was one of the centers of attention on Sunday night, with Lefevere wishing to give a toast to the man he had worked hard to sign in winter.Bennett joined Deceuninck-QuickStep after finding his way to Bora-Hansgrohe blocked by the man he has now beaten at the green, Peter Sagan, who had won the standings a record seven times since 2012.For a sprinter, signing for Lefevere’s eternal winning machine is like being handed the keys to a Ferrari.
Bennett admitted that he sometimes wondered if it was worth following figures like Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and Elia Viviani – but those doubts are gone now.
“Now I feel that I fully deserve my place in Deceuninck-QuickStep because sometimes you can have a bit of impostor syndrome,” he says. “You don’t know if you’re good enough.
“The riders who have come to this position (in the team) have always achieved results. I didn’t want to be the first not to win the Tour with that support and that class of driver riding for you.
“Now I feel like I earned it with the help of my teammates. I can relax knowing that I should be where I am.
Bennett will be on the criterium circuit for the next few days showing off that green jersey before returning to more serious races in mid-October, although his schedule is yet to be finalized.
One event that could occur before that date is the Irish national road race, scheduled for October 4, but Bennett is not sure if he can participate yet.
“I don’t know if this is happening and if I can do it,” he said. “I haven’t spoken to the team, but if there’s one thing I would really like to keep on my national champion’s jersey.