Sam Bennett slips to second in Santos Tour Down Under

Irish rider won the first stage on Tuesday but faded to 13th behind the winner Caleb Ewan

Lotto Soudal rider Caleb Ewan sprints to the line to win stage two of the Tour Down Under. Photo: David Mariuz/EPA

Lotto Soudal rider Caleb Ewan sprints to the line to win stage two of the Tour Down Under. Photo: David Mariuz/EPA

 

Following his stage win and seizing of the race leader’s jersey on Tuesday’s opening stage of the Santos Tour Down Under, Sam Bennett slipped to second overall in the race on Wednesday. The Irish road race champion was to the fore when the uphill sprint began, but realised he didn’t have the legs to go for the win.

He faded back to 13th overall behind the winner Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), who beat Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) and Nathan Haas (Cofidis Solutions Credits) to the line.

Bennett explained afterwards that he is still building form. Wednesday’s stage is only his third day of competition this year. “I can usually cope with this kind of final, but in January it’s more difficult for me to do that, as you could see,” he said.

“The team did a great job again and at 200 meters to go I thought it was going to be another good day, but as soon as I got out of the saddle, I realised there was nothing left in the legs. But my shape is pretty good for this time of the year and I am confident other opportunities will come until the end of the week.”

Bennett was classed as finishing in the same time as Ewan and is level with him in general classification time, although he is now second overall. Impey, the defending champion, is third at one second.

The Santos Tour Down Under continues on Thursday with a lumpy 131 kilometre stage to Paracombe.

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