Bennett sprints to win, Roche retains red in Irish Vuelta double
MADRID (Reuters) – Bora-Hansgrohe’s Sam Bennett claimed a maiden Vuelta a Espana stage victory as he pipped rival Edward Theuns to the line in a sprint finish to win stage three of the race, a 188km flat ride from Ibi to Alicante.
The Irish national champion, who surged ahead of his fellow sprinters on the finishing straight, now has four Grand Tour stage victories and celebrated a famous double for Ireland after race leader Nicolas Roche retained the red jersey. He is the sixth Irishman to win a stage at the Vuelta and the first since Roche in 2015.
“I can’t tell you how relieved I am,” said Bennett, who admitted he was suffering in the intense August heat.
“I can’t tell you how bad my legs were in the stage. Thanks to the team today I could relax and follow them, trust them to get me in the right place at the right time. If it wasn’t for the team effort today I definitely wouldn’t have got it.
“I’m delighted to get another Grand Tour victory, especially wearing the Irish national champions jersey.”
This stage had been earmarked by sprinters as one of the few opportunities they would have to showcase their talents in a race containing nine summit finishes.
There was, however, a notable absentee in the final showdown as Fernando Gaviria, one of the stage favorites, finished over four minutes down on Bennett after being dropped on the final climb – the Puerto de Tibi – with just over 30-km to go.
Roche finished in the main peloton and retained a two-second advantage over nearest rival Nairo Quintana. He has eight seconds on third-placed Rigoberto Uran.
Tuesday’s stage four represents another chance for the sprinters on a 177km flat stage from Cullera to El Puig before the race moves to the mountains and the general classification contenders should come to the fore.
(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli, editing by Ed Osmond)
More Top Stories
China and the United States are in close communication on trade, its commerce ministry said on Thursday, declining to comment on possible retaliatory steps if …read more
A U.S. government watchdog is raising fresh concerns that health insurers are exaggerating how sick Medicare patients are, receiving billions of dollars in improper payments …read more
New Zealand’s military forces began a high-risk operation on volcanic White Island on Friday to recover bodies of eight people killed in an eruption this …read more
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency deported more than a quarter of a million illegal aliens from the United States in Fiscal Year 2019, …read more
The U.S. House of Representatives is expected on Thursday to take its most concrete step yet in impeaching Donald Trump, when a key committee clears …read more