Sam Bennett second in 13th stage of Giro d’Italia
Carrick-on-Suir rider getting closer to his first Grand Tour stage victory
Colombian Fernando Gaviria crossing the line to win ahead of Ireland’s Sam Bennett (right) in the 13th stage of the Giro d’Italia from Reggio Emilia to Tortona. Photograph: AFP
Having thrice been third on stages of the Giro d’Italia, Sam Bennett’s hunt for his first Grand Tour stage victory looked like it was over with 100m to go of Friday’s 13th stage of the race.
His Bora-hansgrohe team had done a superb job of positioning him but, right before the line in Tortona, Fernando Gaviria (QuickStep Floors) darted past Bennett and grabbed the win.
The victory was the Colombian’s fourth of the race, further underlining his dominance. Bennett can take encouragement from the fact that he is getting closer, but will feel frustration that the sprint stages in the race are at an end. With a tough final week ahead, it appears that he must wait until his next Grand Tour before taking that maiden stage win.
The Carrick-on-Suir rider has already made an important step forward this season, landing his first World Tour win on stage three of Paris-Nice in March. That was the first Irish stage success since Stephen Roche’s Col d’Eze triumph back in 1989.
In terms of his next opportunity, it is unclear if he will ride the Tour de France this season as world champion Peter Sagan will spearhead the team’s sprint hopes in the race. He could be asked to ride there in support of Sagan or, alternatively, the team may decide to rest Bennett and then start him in the Vuelta a España.
That may well be the better option, enabling him to continue chasing his first Grand Tour success without the pressure of the July event.