Saturday 21 April 2018

Bennett claims Czech final stage victory

Bennett lost his yellow jersey of race leader on Saturday’s tough mountain stage, but bounced back yesterday to claim a second stage win. Photo by Stephen McMahon/Sportsfile
Bennett lost his yellow jersey of race leader on Saturday’s tough mountain stage, but bounced back yesterday to claim a second stage win. Photo by Stephen McMahon/Sportsfile

Gerard Cromwell

Sam Bennett continued his recent good run of form with victory on the final stage of the Czech Cycling Tour in Dolany yesterday.

Having won Stage Two of the four-day race on Friday, the Carrick-on-Suir sprinter lost his yellow jersey of race leader on Saturday's tough mountain stage, but bounced back yesterday to claim a second stage win.

Bennett's Bora-Hansgrohe team-mate Jan Bárta, riding his home tour, began the day in second place overall, seven seconds down on Josef Cerny (Elkov-Author Cycling Team), but couldn't depose the overnight leader despite several attempts to cut his deficit in intermediate sprints during the stage.

An armchair ride to the line from lead-out men Erik Baska and Pascal Ackermann saw Bennett storm around the final bend with 100m to go, to cross the line a full bike length clear of his nearest challengers after 157km of racing.

"The guys did a great job delivering me with speed in the final few hundred metres again today," Bennett said. "They made my job easy in the end."

Bennett went home with the green jersey of points classification winner, while his Bora-Hansgrohe team also won the team classification. Having taken six weeks off after the national championships in June, though, a lack of racing may have cost him overall victory this week.

"I just don't feel myself yet," he admitted yesterday. "I've been cramping in a few races. I was cramping for the last 20km on the first day I won here and again in the mountains yesterday. I've changed my shoes recently, so we've been looking into that, to see if that's the source of the problem, but the training is done, so hopefully it's just lack of racing."

Meanwhile, Aqua Blue Sport's Dutch rider Michel Kreder finished third at the four-stage Arctic Race of Norway, 43 seconds behind BMC's Belgian rider Dylan Teuns, who also won yesterday's stage.

The strong result gives the Irish Pro Continental team a timely lift ahead of their first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana, which starts on Saturday.

Indo Sport

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