Sam Bennett notches up another win in Australia
Irish rider followed a stage victory last week by taking the Race Torquay on Thursday
Irish rider Sam Bennett from team Deceuninck - Quick Step won the Race Torquay in Australia. Photo: Brenton Edwards/AFP via Getty Images
Following on from his victory on stage one of the Santos Tour Down Under last week, Sam Bennett clocked up his second win of the year in Australia. Bennett was quickest at the end of the Race Torquay event in Victoria on Thursday, beating Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling), Alberto Dainese (Team Sunweb) and the rest of the bunch to the line.
“After an aggressive start, things became pretty controlled, so I asked the guys to make it harder and kick off the race again,” he said afterwards. “That’s when Dries [teammate Dries Devenyns] went and forced the others to chase. It all came together later and I got an armchair ride to the line.” Inside the final kilometre, Bennett benefitted from a strong leadout from his Deceuninck-QuickStep teammate Michael Morkov, and was clearly quickest at the end.
This year’s edition is the first time the race has been ranked 1.1 on the UCI international calendar. Prior to that, it was an unranked criterium, which Bennett won twice.
The victory further underline the Carrick-on-Suir rider’s strong early-season form. He was first, second and third on stages of the Santos Tour Down Under and will start Sunday’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race as one of the favourites.
“This success makes me very happy and feeds my confidence ahead of Sunday, when I hope to be again up there with a shot at victory,” he said. “The credit goes to the team, who did again a great job and were always there for me.”
The Irish road race champion moved to Deceuninck-QuickStep over the winter and has better team support as a result.
He hopes that this will ensure greater successes this season and, all going to plan, will help him land a stage win in the Tour de France. He last rode the race back in 2016 and is yet to top the podium there.
Race Torquay, Australia (1.1)
1, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep); 2, G. Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling); 3, A. Dainese (Team Sunweb); 4, K. Groves (Mitchelton-Scott); 5, M. Morkov (Deceuninck-QuickStep)