Summer of Sam continues as Bennett wins in Koln
Carrick-On-Suir man Sam Bennett continued his fantastic run of form yesterday when he sprinted to victory at the end of the Rund Um Koln one-day race in Germany.
Having taken three stage wins at the Giro d'Italia recently, the 'Summer of Sam' continued when Bennett out-kicked multiple Tour de France stage winner Marcel Kittel among others at the end of an extremely tough 208km race in Cologne.
Once again, Bennett's German-backed Bora Hansgrohe team took matters in hand for most of the race, controlling the tempo at the front of the peloton to reel in the early breakaway before leading the Carrick-On-Suir fastman into the last kilometre towards the head of affairs.
Jumping off the wheel of Kittel in the final 250m, Bennett made it look easy, taking victory by two bike lengths ahead of Israel Academy's Mihkel Raim, with Polish sprinter Szymon Sajnek of CCC nudging Kittel off the podium on the line.
"I can't thank the lads enough today," said a delighted Bennett of his team after claiming his 26th professional victory and his second Rund Um Koln.
"We planned to make the race as hard as possible for Kittel, and the guys executed our plan perfectly. They controlled the race the whole day and in the finale, my leadout was seamless. I followed the wheel of Kittel and was able to launch my sprint at the right time. They did an incredible job."
Meanwhile, Dan Martin took sixth behind stage winner Adam Yates on the final stage of Criterium du Dauphine in France yesterday to finish fourth overall in his final stage race before next month's Tour de France.
The race was won by Team Sky's Geraint Thomas who suffered two punctures during the 136km stage from Moutiers to St Gervais Mont Blanc, but took a wheel from a team-mate on the second occasion and was paced back to the peloton to finish fifth.