Breakthrough tour for Bennett

Bennet blazes to second behind Cavendish on the final stage of the Tour of Britain

Riders, including Sam Bennett, compete in stage eight of the Tour of Britain in central London on September 22, 2013. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Riders, including Sam Bennett, compete in stage eight of the Tour of Britain in central London on September 22, 2013. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Sun, Sep 22, 2013, 22:18


Mark Cavendish has been regarded for several years as the most talented sprinter in cycling, but yesterday Irishman Sam Bennett showed that in a year or two, he could regularly be up there in the top bunch finishes in the sport.

The An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly rider boosted his chances of taking a pro contract when he blazed in second behind Cavendish on the final stage of the Tour of Britain.

Racing up the outside of the bunch, he overtook several riders just before the second-last turn on the stage.

When the OmegaPharma rider kicked for home on the finishing straight, Bennett was the only one able to stay with him. Though he wasn’t able to get past, the pace of the duo carried them clear of the rest of the peloton.

Bennet had a superb campaign in the eight-day event, winning stage five, netting second on stage two and again yesterday, and also notching up two tenth place finishes.

It’s a breakthrough performance against the professionals and increases the chances of him landing a WorldTour or Pro Continental contract.

Last year’s Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins won the overall classification, turning around a quiet year. Irish Garmin-Sharp rider Dan Martin showed his form is building before next Sunday’s world championship road race with thirteenth overall.

Meanwhile the World Championships began yesterday with the team time trial events. Defending champions Specialized-lululemon and OmegaPharma repeated their victories in the women’s and men’s events. Nicolas Roche’s Saxo Tinkoff squad was ninth out of 35 in the latter.

Irish riders Marcus Christie and Ryan Mullen compete in the under-23 time trial today.