Sam Bennett takes second stage win in Belgium
Irishman continues to lead general classification after a tricky finale into Ardooie
Sam Bennett of Ireland and Team Bora-Hansgrohe on the podium after winning stage two of the Binck Bank Tour in Belgium. Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images
Sam Bennett defended his Binck Bank Tour race lead in the best possible fashion on Tuesday, speeding to his second consecutive stage win in the event. Bennett manoeuvred for position in a tricky finale into Ardooie, ensuring he was on the wheel of four-time Tour de France stage winner Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma) as the sprint began to play out.
Bennett reacted more quickly when Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) blasted past, marking the Belgian and immediately distancing Groenewegen. The Irishman had no problems in overtaking Philipsen, taking a clear victory. The success extended his overall lead in the event, with Bennett now 12 seconds clear of Lukasz Wisniowski (CCC Team) and a further second ahead of Josef Cerny (CCC Team).
“I can’t believe it,” the Carrick-on-Suir rider said. “After 70k my legs weren’t that great, so I didn’t expect to really get a result today. But the guys looked after me so well all day and kept me at the front and I think that I was saving so much [energy] there and others were losing so much at the back that in the end, I had enough legs to get the win. I am delighted with that. I really didn’t think I could get a second win here.”
Bennett was clearly quicker than his rivals in the finale, but showed characteristic modesty. “I don’t think I am the fastest here but it doesn’t matter, because I just need to get to the line first,” he said.
The success is Bennett’s tenth of the season, and continues a hugely successful year for him. He wants to continue his momentum in both this event and also in the upcoming Vuelta a España, his main season goal.
“I am getting greedy so I would like one more stage here,” he said. “We are after having a great tour so far here so I will just get through this race in good shape and I look forward to the Vuelta.”
The Binck Bank Tour continues on Wednesday with a mainly flat 166.9 kilometre race based in and around Aalter.
Binck Bank Tour, Belgium (WorldTour)
Stage 2, Blankenberge to Ardooie: 1, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 169.2 kilometres in 3 hours 45 mins 20 secs; 2, J. Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates); 3, D. Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma); 4, K. Halvorsen (Team Ineos); 5, A. Hodeg (Deceuninck-QuickStep); 6, A. Capiot (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) all same time.
General classification after stage 2: 1, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 7 hours 27 mins 57 secs; 2, L. Wisniowski (CCC Team) at 12 secs; 3, J. Cerny (CCC Team) at 13 secs; 4, L. Bak (Dimension Data) at 14 secs; 5, J. Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates); 6, E. Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) both same time.