Bennett just misses out on win as Gaviria triumphs again

Irish sprinter comes second as Colombian rider secures fourth stage win

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 100 metres to go of Friday's leg 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 22-year-old 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.

Bennett has already made an important step forward this season, landing his first WorldTour 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 the Carrick-on-Suir rider 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.

The 167-kilometres 13th stage from Reggio Emilia finished as expected in a mass sprint with Belgium's Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) taking the final podium position behind Gaviria and Bennett.

The top of the general classification was unchanged, with Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) in the pink jersey.

Dumoulin has a lead of two minutes 23 seconds over Colombia’s Nairo Quintana (Movistar) ahead of Saturday’s 14th stage.

The 131km route from Castellania to Oropa features a summit finish, when Dumoulin’s rivals could seek to regain some valuable time. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) is third, two minutes and 38 seconds behind.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

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