Wednesday 25 April 2018

Bennett rues Turkish delight slipping away

Bennett: Celebrating Saturday’s stage. Photo: BettiniPhoto
Bennett: Celebrating Saturday’s stage. Photo: BettiniPhoto

Gerard Cromwell

After securing a fourth stage win at the Presidential Tour of Turkey on Saturday, Sam Bennett's week came to a disappointing end yesterday when he crashed on the last corner of the six-day WorldTour race in Istanbul.

Having taken victory on the opening three stages of the race, Bennett lost his overall race lead on Friday's summit finish but bounced back on Saturday to claim a fourth victory, bringing his tally for the season to ten.

With Bennett installed as favourite to take a fifth stage win yesterday, his Bora hansgrohe team ensured he was in the best possible position going into the final kilometres, reeling in a four-man breakaway which had been clear for most of the stage with just 3km to go.

On the uphill drag to the line a crash in the peloton saw Bennett and teammate Matteo Pelucchi go clear with sprint rival Edward Theuns of Trek-Segafredo.

Having overtaken Theuns ­approach- ing the final corner, Bennett was ­perfectly poised on the wheel of lead-out man Pelucchi when his front wheel slid out from under him on the cobbled pedestrian streets and he hit the deck with 250m to go.

As Theuns sprinted past Pelucchi to glory - snatching Bennett's green points classification jersey off him in the process, the Carrick-on-Suir sprinter was left to pick up the pieces and was understandably disappointed afterwards.

"To lose the green jersey - and maybe another stage, like that is hard to take," he said afterwards.

"The team have been brilliant from day one and we've had a very good end to the season, so I'm disappointed to let them down today.

"I've probably been acting like a spoilt child for a while after it but in reality, I came away from the crash without anything serious wrong with me and I've had four wins here this week - 10 this season - which has been a goal of mine for a long time, so I can't be too disappointed.

"I'm looking forward to going on holiday now and getting ready for next season again."

Overall victory went to stage-four winner Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) with Jesper Hansen of Astana second and Fausto Masnada (Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia) third.

Irish Independent

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