Sam Bennett finishes fifth in first race since Vuelta Covid setback

Dutch rider Olav Kooij wins the Sparkaasen Munsterland Giro

Sam Bennett had an encouraging return to competition on Monday, finishing fifth in the Sparkassen Munsterland Giro despite being baulked inside the final kilometre and losing ground immediately prior to the sprint.

Dutch rider Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) was quickest in the bunch gallop, beating Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Max Walscheid (Cofidis) plus many others to the line.

The race was Bennett’s first in over a month. He last competed in the Vuelta a España, winning two stages before withdrawing on August 30th due to a positive Covid test. The Carrick on Suir sprinter initially struggled when he returned to training post-infection, finding himself easily drained and unable to log consecutive days of exercise.

He told The Irish Times at the time that he may have to end his season prematurely, but more recently confirmed that things had improved and that he will return to racing. He duly did so on Monday and while he will be frustrated not to take the win, he will be encouraged by his top five finish after over a month out of competition.


He will compete in two races in France this week, namely Paris-Bourges on Thursday and Paris-Tours on Sunday.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling