Double Irish joy as Bennett and Roche reign in Spain
Irish eyes were smiling on the Costa Brava yesterday as Sam Bennett stormed to victory on stage 3 of the Vuelta a Espana in Alicante, while Nicolas Roche held on to his overall lead in the three-week race.
After suffering in the high temperatures on Sunday, Bennett scorched to victory yesterday, with a searing turn of pace in the last 250 metres sealing his first Vuelta stage win and a 12th victory of the season.
Having missed out on selection for both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, Bennett proved once again that he is among the fastest sprinters in the world when he outgunned Edward Theuns of Trek Segafredo, Luka Mezgec of Mitchelton-Scott and to claim his fourth career Grand Tour stage win by a clear bike length.
"I can't tell you how relieved I am with that," said the current Irish national champion. "I'd love to say I sat up intentionally yesterday but I felt so bad yesterday in the heat. I can't tell you how bad my legs were.
"It means a lot to get another Grand Tour victory, especially in the Irish national champion's jersey. I'm very proud to wear it and win in this jersey. I'm very proud to wear this jersey."
He added. "So me winning today and Nico holding onto the race lead here is a great day for the Irish."