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Sam Bennett demolishes Giro sprint for another day of glory

Posted on: May 17th, 2018

Sam Bennett wins stage 12 Giro d'Italia 2018

Sam Bennett wins stage 12 Giro: Ireland waited 31 years for a Giro d’Italia stage win and now it has two in less than a week; Sam Bennett storming home again in triumph on the Italian Grand Tour today.

 

Sam Bennett wins stage 12 Giro d’Italia 2018

 

Irish sprinter Sam Bennett has taken another victory, on stage 12, at the Giro d’Italia.

Ireland waited 31 years between its last stage win at the Giro and Bennett’s victory last Friday.

But now the Carrick-on-Suir man has delivered again, just five days after his first triumph.

And when he looks back on his career, no matter what further success he achieves; these last few days will be a defining moment.

There have been others of course; his beating all of the best sprinters in the world for his first WorldTour win at Paris-Nice last year was a huge milestone.

But there is nothing like a Grand Tour stage win for the sprinters, and now Sam Bennett has two. And the Bora-hansgrohe man is not finished yet.

Today’s stage was 214km from Osimo to Imola. The parcours contained a later cat 4 climb.

It was the kind of stage that would suit sprinters who can climb a little and so it had Bennett’s name written all over it.

And on the finish line, in the rain and after a host of early escapees had been caught, Bennett sprinted in to win.

In the finale Bennett was rampant; looking stronger than he has ever done in his career.

On the late cat 4 climb he even went off the front at one stage, as the peloton was thinned right down and the rain lashed the riders.

A number of dangerous escapes went clear late in the stage; the most dangerous of those a two-man move.

That was made up of Carlos Betancur (Movistar) and the winner from two days ago Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida).

And while Bennett’s Bora-hansgrohe team did most of the chasing, the two leaders doggedly remained out front by a handful of seconds deep into the final kilometres.

Just as what was left of the bunch was closing right down on them, Bennett jumped; starting his sprint with at least 500-600 metres remaining.

That surprised the other fast men left in the group and the Irish rider swept past the two leaders.

He then had the power to keep it going all the way to the line; a huge achievement considering how early he had opened his sprint.

He finished lengths ahead, having absolutely thrashed that final sprint for by far his most impressive career win to date.

The fact just 51 riders finished in the bunch underlines how much the race split in the crosswinds and on the final climb.

Bennett’s big sprint rival, Elia Viviani (QuickStep), was dropped several times and got back on. But he did not figure in the final.

The stage proved too hard and saw him lose nine minutes after failing to get back into the bunch the final time he was dropped.

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) finished in the bunch today and so retains his race leader’s maglia rosa.

Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing) finished 124th, in a group 8:50 down. Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) was 114th, finishing in the same group as Roche.

 

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