Daniele Bennati is an Italian road racing cyclist specializing in fast sprint finishes. He turned professional in 2002, when he joined the team Acqua & Sapone and wore zebra stripes as part of Mario Cipollin’s leadout train. Upon joining the Lampre team in 2005, he demonstrated the ability to win on his own, and has continued to do so since joining Liquigas in 2008. He is an excellent sprinter, and has won 9 stages in Grand Tours (two in the Tour de France, three in the Giro d’ Italia, and four in the Vuelta a Espana) in the last two years. He won the points jersey in the 2007 Vuelta a Espana. In 2008 he also won the points jersey in the Giro d’ Italia, but missed the 2008 Tour de France with a tendon injury. He came back to win a stage in the Vuelta a Espana.
Bennati comes from a family of cyclists. His father did well as an amateur, and his brother raced as a junior. Daniele entered and won his first race at the age of 9. As an amateur he raced in the Grassi Mapei team, and won a stage of the Giro delle Regioni.
Bennati’s combination of sprinting talent, good looks, and attractive smile have won him many fans. The growing rivalry between Cavendish and Bennati promises to enliven sprinting at the Grand Tours for many years to come.