Sunday 22 September 2019

Bennett lauds his team after securing 13th win of the year


Sam Bennett: Most wins. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Sam Bennett: Most wins. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Sam Bennett became the most prolific rider of 2019 when he took a second stage win at the Vuelta a Espana at the weekend.

The national road race champion took his season's tally to 13 professional victories in 2019, the most of any rider this year, when he stormed clear of the rest of the peloton at the end of stage 14 in Oviedo on Saturday.

Good positioning by his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates saw Bennett stay at the front and avoid a huge crash that took down half of the peloton with one kilometre to go.

On the final ramp to the line, a late attack from Tosh Van der Sande of Lotto-Soudal with 900m to go seemed to have scuppered the chances of a sprint finish but Bennett reacted and made light work of the uphill finish, crossing the line three lengths clear of Argentinean Max Richeze, with Van der Sande third.

"The team worked hard all day and put me in a fantastic place," said Bennett after taking the fifth Grand Tour stage win of his career. "I'm happy now. I've reached my target for this season but hopefully there's another one or two in the bag."

On yesterday's stage, Sepp Kuss held off a late charge to claim his first grand tour stage win in Santuario del Acebo. The Jumbo-Visma rider attacked on the final climb and did just enough to repel Ruben Guerreiro and Tao Geoghegan Hart.

Primoz Roglic maintained his overall lead of two minutes and 25 seconds after matching his nearest challenger, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

At home, Britain's Claire Steels has taken overall victory in Rás na mBan following the final stage in Kilkenny yesterday.

The Brother UK Fusion RT rider was safely in the main group in 20th place, one place behind her nearest rival Josie Knight (Team GB) whose audacious final kilometre attack was not enough to distance Steels, who retained her six-second overall lead to the end.

The top two were in the main peloton behind stage winner Silje Mathisen. The Region TeVeBu rider led Pernille Feldman (Region Sør) and Amalie Lutro (Region Sør) for a remarkable 1-2-3 for Norway.

Team Ireland's Lara Gillespie was fourth in the final stage and her team-mate Maeve Gallagher was also in the main peloton to complete the week best of the Irish in sixth overall.

Irish Independent

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