Monday 23 September 2019

Sam Bennett comes up agonisingly short in stage four as Nicolas Roche keeps leader's jersey at Vuelta a España

Team Deceuninck rider Netherlands' Fabio Jakobsen (L), Team Bora rider Ireland's Sam Bennett (C) and Team Sunweb rider Germany's Max Walscheid (R) cross the finish of the fourth stage of the 2019 La Vuelta cycling tour of Spain, a 175,5 km route from Cullera to El Puig, on August 27, 2019 in El Puig. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP)JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Team Deceuninck rider Netherlands' Fabio Jakobsen (L), Team Bora rider Ireland's Sam Bennett (C) and Team Sunweb rider Germany's Max Walscheid (R) cross the finish of the fourth stage of the 2019 La Vuelta cycling tour of Spain, a 175,5 km route from Cullera to El Puig, on August 27, 2019 in El Puig. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP)JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images

John Brennan

Ireland’s Sam Bennett just failed to secure a second stage win in the Vuelta a Espana today, missing out by millimetres in a sprint to Dutch champion Fabio Jakobsen in El Puig on the Costa Blanca.

Bennett lost the wheel of his Bora sprint train when he went the long way around a roundabout with 750m to go in stage four. Jakobsen took his chance to burst for the finish line and the Irishman ran out of time to claim the win.

The defeat will annoy Bennett as this stage was the last in the three-week race that is a probable sprint finish until Saturday week. There are then three more chances in the last week of the race, but they will seem a long way away this evening as the Carrick-on-Suir man stews on this defeat.

Nicolas Roche finished safely in the bunch to keep the leader’s red jersey for another day – and Bennett has the consolation of taking the lead in the points category, putting two Irish riders in a leader’s jersey in a Grand Tour at the same time.

Tomorrow will be a real test for both men, with the stage ending on top of the first-category climb to the Observatory at Javalambre. It will be the first serious shake-out in this year’s race.

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