Sam Bennett just beaten after being left stranded in Turkey

Posted on: October 9th, 2018

QuickStep packed the front but Bora-hansgrohe was absent when Sam Bennett needed even one man to help. The result was a win for the Belgium team, and a runner-up placing for Sam Bennett. Hopefully his lead-out train can be better for the bunch sprints to come.


Sam Bennett left stranded in Turkey bunch sprint


Sam Bennett was just beaten to victory on the opening stage of the Tour of Turkey after being left stranded in the finale by his team.

Bora-hansgrohe was not completely absent, having worked well earlier in the stage and approaching the finish. But in the last push to the line Bennett was isolated.

A messy sprint was marked by Fernando Gaviria (QuickStep) crashing heavily with about 4km remaining.

And while the Colombian remounted and finished the stage, his future in the race is in doubt.

Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing) came through the stage in the bunch. He will bide his time until the road kicks up in coming days.

For Sam Bennett, it was a case of what might have been. The field was caught by surprise when Gaviria’s team mate Maximiliano Richeze opened the sprint with about 600 metres to go.

The QuickStep rider’s late attack or early sprint, depending on your interpretation, saw him gain some daylight on the rest.

And he just about held on all the way to the line to win the stage. He also takes the leader’s jersey into stage 2 tomorrow.

In the sprint just behind him, Bennett proved quickest of the fast men.  And while he had to be content with 2nd today, he looks in good shape for the sprints to come.

Had the Irish rider enjoyed more team support in the closing stages he may have won today.

However, with nobody to close the gap that opened to Richeze, Bennett was on his own and missed out.

The stage winner whipped around a bend and opened his gap. And though Bennett had done everything right to that point, he found himself on the front.

Furthermore, when he and the others near the front hesitated briefly, that was all the eventual winner needed.

He made the most of his chance and while he was almost caught on the line, he survived to win it well.

With Bennett in the runner-up spot, Jempy Drucker (BMC Racing) was 3rd and another QuickStep man, Alvaro Hodeg, was 4th on the day.

Sam Bennett had said coming into the race that he needed a more consistent lead-out train.

Unfortunately, when the performance of the well-drilled QuickStep train is compared with the Bora-hansgrohe effort for Bennett; the Irishman’s pre race words rang true.

While his team mates had worked hard just before the sprint to position him and to help bring back an early escape, Bennett was isolated deep inside the final kilometre.

It was a stage win that got away from Sam Bennett that could have started his Tour of Turkey with a bang.

He won four of the six stages here last year and a victory today would have relaunched him for this late season period.

However, though the Argentine stage winner stole a march on everyone after 150km in Konya, Bennett can at least take solace in the fact he was the best of the rest.

Hopefully his team can better support him in the coming days, as it has on many occasions in recent years.

More to follow.