Sam Bennett shows no let-up with third stage win in Belgium
Carrick-on-Suir rider continued an unprecedented run of success in the event
Sam Bennett of Ireland and Team Bora-Hansgrohe wins stage three of the 15th Binck Bank Tour 2019. Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images
Sam Bennett took his third consecutive stage win at the BinckBank Tour in Belgium on Wednesday, thus further extending his overall lead in the race. The Carrick-on-Suir rider continued an unprecedented run of success in the event, showing he is the best sprinter despite having mechanical issues in the final gallop to the line.
He beat four-time Tour de France stage winner Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma) in a tight photo finish, getting the decision by just .006 of a second. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) was third. Bennett had been behind both in the sprint but was travelling visibly faster than his rivals inside the final 100 metres.
“I wasn’t sure at all [that I got it]” he said. “I think somebody touched my bike in the last corner, and they broke it a little. The gears were jumping like mad so I couldn’t throw the bike around. I was just trying to keep myself solid. The gears were slipping so I couldn’t get the power down.”
Bennett said that some luck helped him overcome the mishap. He was able to slipstream Philipsen and this gave him enough to lunge past Groenewegen with a precisely-timed throw of his bike at the line.
“I got a run at the UAE rider in front [Philipsen] and if it wasn’t for that, I don’t think I would have got it,” he said. “I was really lucky today. I made the bike as long as possible in the final [by lunging] and that was enough to get it today. So I am really happy with that.”
Bennett’s success sees him take three stage wins out of three in the event. He said that he only heard before the stage that it had never been done before. “I heard this morning that if I did [win], that I would be [the first]. It is fantastic. I am glad to be doing my country proud.”
The resulting time bonuses further extend his lead in the overall standings. He is now 20 seconds clear of Philipsen and Groenewegen, and is a further two seconds in front of Lukasz Wisniowski (CCC Team) and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (CCC Team). The Bora-hansgrohe rider is also leading the points classification after what is his 11th victory this season.
The WorldTour race continues on Thursday with a lumpier stage in and around Houffalize. It runs until Sunday.
Gillespie crashes in world junior championships
In track cycling, Lara Gillespie had bad luck in the world junior championships in Frankfurt, falling in the women’s scratch race. She had qualified third in her heat earlier on Wednesday, but hit the deck during the finals. She was not too badly hurt, and will compete in the individual pursuit and points races on Saturday.
She previously showed her class in international competition, winning a silver medal in the European Youth Olympic time trial two years ago.
Last year she won the junior European points race and took silver in the individual pursuit. This season, she took silver medals in the scratch race, individual pursuit and points race in the Europeans.
BinckBank Tour, Belgium (WorldTour)
Stage 3, Aalter to Aalter: 1, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 170 kilometres in 3 hours 48 mins 36 secs; 2, D. Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma); 3, J. Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates); 4, J. Roelandts (Movistar Team); 5, F. Senechal (Deceuninck-QuickStep); 6, E. Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) all same time.
General classification after stage 3: 1, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 11 hours 16 mins 23 secs; 2, J. Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) at 20 secs; 3, D. Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma) same time; 4, L. Wisniowski (CCC Team) at 22 secs; 5, G. Van Keirsbulck (CCC Team) same time; 6, L. Bak (Dimension Data) at 23 secs.