Bennett keeps powder dry at Vuelta
Bunch sprint fails to materialise in eighth stage
Nikias Arndt of Sunweb team celebrates as he wins the eighth stage in Igualada. Photograph: EPA
Sam Bennett’s hope that stage eight of the Vuelta a España would come down to a bunch sprint unravelled when a large breakaway group went clear early on during Saturday’s leg and contested the finish in Igualada. The German rider Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb) outsprinted Alex Aranburu (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) and 10 others to the line, while the group of race favourites rolled in nine minutes 24 seconds back.
There were no riders of danger to the overall classification in the move, although Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) was able to take over the race lead, with Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Merida) jumping up to second. However, previous leader Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) and the other contenders know that Edet and Teuns will slip backwards once the serious mountains rear up again.
Bennett opted to save energy for later stages and finished 18 minutes five seconds back. He remains third overall in the points classification, five points off the leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team). The Vuelta a España continues on Sunday with a tough mountain stage to Cortals d’Encamp.
Vuelta a España, Spain (WorldTour)
Stage 8, Valls to Igualada: 1, Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb) 166.9 kilometres in 3 hours 50 mins 48 secs; 2, A. Aranburu (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA); 3, T. Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal); 4, R. Guerreiro (Team Katusha Alpecin); 5, J. Koch (CCC Team). Irish: 157, S. Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) at 18 mins 5 secs
General classification: 1, Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) 32 hours 16 mins 24 secs; 2, D. Teuns (Bahrain Merida) at 2 mins 21 secs; 3, M. Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) at 3 mins 1 sec; 4, P. Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) at 3 mins 7 secs; 5, A. Valverde (Movistar Team) at 3 mins 17 secs. Irish: 154, S. Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) 1 hour 28 mins 26 secs
Points classification: 1, Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) 50 points; 2, P. Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) 48; 3, S. Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) 45