In-form Bennett lands the perfect Czech-out
Ireland's Sam Bennett claimed stage victory and the yellow jersey of race leader on the second stage of the Czech Cycling Tour yesterday.
Having finished second in Thursday's opening team time trial - three seconds behind the Austrian Elkov Author team - Bennett's Bora-Hansgrohe squad took charge at the front for much of yesterday's 202km stage, reeling in an early five-man breakaway with around 20km to go before setting up the Carrick-on-Suir man for the mass sprint finale.
After a perfect lead-out from Pascal Ackerman, Bennett showed a clean pair of wheels to the rest of the peloton to take victory ahead of Slovenian duo Jan Tratnik (CCC) and Rok Korosec (Amplatz BMC).
"I wasn't feeling great today. I was cramping in the last 20km and actually told the other guys to do the sprint; that I'd just stay behind and see what I could do," said Bennett. "In the end, Pascal delivered me to the front so fast, I just had to go from about 150m out.
"His lead-out was so good, I knew I had the win almost as soon as my sprint started. After the team putting in such a big effort today, there was a bit of pressure on me to finish it off in the sprint so I'm really happy to have got the win."
Bennett now leads the Czech Tour with two days remaining but today's 186km long penultimate stage features six climbs on the way to Sternberk before an easier final stage tomorrow.