Ireland’s Sam Bennett makes it two from two in Turkey

Waterford cyclist quickest on uphill finish to claim sixth win of the season

 Sam Bennett  made it back-to-back stage wins in the Presidential Tour of Turkey. File photograph:  Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Sam Bennett made it back-to-back stage wins in the Presidential Tour of Turkey. File photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

 

Sam Bennett shone in the race leader’s jersey at the Presidential Tour of Turkey on Wednesday to take his second consecutive stage win in the event.

The Waterford cyclist was quickest on the uphill finish to Eceabat, biding his time while other sprinters were being dropped, and holding back when his Bora-Hansgrohe team-mate Lukas Pöstlberger attacked with just over a kilometre to go.

The 2015 An Post Rás winner dug deep to try to win but began to fade, leaving Bennett to seize the opportunity, launching the sprint and immediately gapping the other riders. He darted past Pöstlberger and reached the line well clear of another Bora-Hansgrohe rider, Felix Grossschartner. It was his ninth career stage win in the event and his sixth victory of the 2019 season.

“It was much harder,” Bennett said, comparing his win to the flatter finish on Tuesday’s opening stage. “The thing I found most difficult there was to keep patient. The roads were really narrow. Then Postie [Pöstlberger] went. It was a great move. I had good legs in the final, we were one-two. It was great.

“The guys did an amazing job into the bottom of the climb, I think that was critical. It is really good work by the whole team.”

Bennett is known as a sprinter but has fared well on shorter hills in the past. He won the Caerphilly stage at the 2013 Tour of Britain, and also showed solid riding on ramps at last year’s Giro d’Italia. He said that the changing gradient at the end of the stage suited him.

“It was okay because I can do hard accelerations repeatedly,” he said. “And that is kind of what it was, with the corners and with the change of gradient. It suited me really well, actually.

“I was surprised. I was up for it, but I didn’t know if I would get it or not.”

The rider who was closest to Bennett in the overall standings, Tuesday’s runner-up Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep), was dropped on the final climb. With the time bonuses Bennett secured for his two wins he is now 14 seconds clear of Grossschartner. Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Manzana Postobon) is third, 16 seconds back. Bennett also leads the point classification.

The tougher stages to come mean the overall win is very unlikely, but Bennett should have further opportunities for stage win on Saturday. Asked about his chances of repeat victories, Bennett didn’t want to get carried away. “It would be nice,” he smiled, “but I don’t want to jinx anything yet.”

The tougher stages to come mean the overall win is very unlikely, but Bennett should have further opportunities for stage wins on Thursday and Saturday. Asked about his chances of repeat victories, Bennett didn’t want to get carried away. “It would be nice,” he smiled, “but I don’t want to jinx anything yet.”

PRESIDENTIAL TOUR OF TURKEY (WORLDTOUR)

Stage 2, Tekirdag to Eceabat: 1 Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 183.3 kilometres in 4 hours 11 mins 48 secs; 2 F Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe); 3 J Restrepo Valencia (Manzana Postobon); 4 G Serrano Rodriguez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA); 5 J Polanc (UAE Team Emirates); 6 M Finetto (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) all same time.

General classification after stage 2: 1 Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 8 hours 14 mins 2 secs; 2 F Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 14 secs; 3 J Restrepo Valencia (Manzana Postobon) at 16 secs; 4 J Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) at 20 secs; 5 V Conti (UAE Team Emirates); 6 M Finetto (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) both same time

Points classification: Sam Bennett

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