We caught up with Wearwell Seasonnaire Jordan Benjamin-Sutton at the start of the Classics Season to hear his plans for the Monuments Season.
Mid-race at the 2018 Tour of Flanders
What happened at Strade Bianche?
I was all geared up for Strade Bianche, which is a race I love. But I got an email on the Thursday before the race to say that they were cancelling all flights into Italy. Not only that, but all rail services were cancelled too, which made it practically impossible to get over to watch the race.”
Jordan Benjamin Sutton's photo of Tiesj Benoot crossing the finish line at the 2018 Strade Bianche
That must have been really disappointing, particularly in light of last year?
“Yes, last year’s race was a real epic and I was lucky enough to be positioned right at the finish to witness the battle between Tiesj Benoot, Romain Bardet and Wout Van Aert for the victory. Although Benoot grabbed the win, it was actually a photo of Wout van Aert exhausted, lying flat on his back on the pave after the race which captured the moment best. This photo won 1st Prize in the annual Cycling Tips Photo Awards.”
Jordan Benjamin Sutton's award winning photo of Wout van Aert lying exhausted after the climax of Strade Bianche.
Not to let one setback get in the way, you thought you’d head to another Italian Classic…
"Yeah, Milan San Remo. A good race to start the season!
The original plan was to start in Milan and get the train to San Remo to capture the finish. Luckily I bumped into Team Sky Photographer Russ Ellis as well as Chris Auld who was shooting for CCC and they were driving the route with stop offs along the way."
How was it jumping in with two seasoned photography pros?
"It was really interesting to see the amount of pre-prep and planning that Russ and Chris put into the day. Key points were picked out along the route based on previous trips to the photograph the race which is particularly important in the early stages of the race where there’s not too much ‘action’. They also had to make decisions on the fly based on how quickly the race was moving. If the average pace was higher than expected, it might mean certain planned stops had to be jettisoned."
Aerial shot of the lead group in Milan San Remo 2019
So what was your plan for the finish?
"The big challenge is finding the best option for the photo in the final 10km. Do you go with the finish line or the Poggio? My gut feeling was to go to the finish and I was glad that’s what I chose in the end."
Were you happy with what you captured?
"Yes, I was really pleased with the photos. The “crossing the finish line shot” can be quite samey sometimes, so I’m always keen to get the post-race celebrations that you think best capture the moment."
And so would you do anything differently next time you head to Milan-San Remo?
"I think I’ll try to get to a few new locations. The coast is good as it gives a lots of new and differing perspectives. The logistics are a real challenge though so I’d need to think that through carefully before I head back. I think I’d definitely head back to the finish again though as it’s a real minute of madness!"
Heading toward the finish of the 2019 Milan San Remo
Finally, any other Classics planned?
"I’ll be heading over for Gent Wewelgem like I did last year and try and get photos at both the start and finish. Belgium is much easier to get around by train and I also just hop on the Eurostar from London to Brussels."
The final lap of the 2018 Paris Roubaix
"I’ll also be heading to Paris-Roubaix once more. You just have to do it! And I’ll be doing Amstel Gold for the first time this year before I turn my attention to the World Championships and Tour de Yorkshire in the summer."
Peter Sagan wins the 2018 Paris Roubaix
All photos kindly provided by Jordan Benjamin-Sutton and are copyright of Peloton Perspective. For more information visit https://pelotonperspective.co.uk/