Sam Bennett wins final stage of inaugural UAE Tour
Slovenia’s Primoz secures overall victory as Bennett edges out Fernando Gaviria in Dubai
Sam Bennett took the final stage in Dubai. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Irish sprinter Sam Bennett blasted to his second victory of 2019 on Saturday, beating many of the world’s best sprinters to claim the final stage of the UAE Tour in the United Arab Emirates.
The Carrick-on-Suir rider positioned himself perfectly inside the final kilometre, sticking on the wheel of the Colombian Fernando Gaviria, tracking him when he launched the sprint and then coming around him inside the final 50 metres.
Gaviria hung on for second, with Australian rider Caleb Ewan third.
“Our lead-out train worked perfectly today. The guys supported me the whole day and helped me to save extra energy,” said Bennett. “On the last sprint stage, I didn’t have good legs in the finale, but today I felt very good.”
Bennett previously finished sixth and fourth on sprint stages in the race. He took his first win of the year last month in the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina, but was against tougher competition this week.
“The field is full of top-notch sprinters and to pick up a win against these guys is a great achievement,” he continued. “My win today gives me confidence heading into the next races, and I’m excited to see what I can do there.”
His Bora-hansgrohe sport director Enrico Poitschke said the team played an important role in setting Bennett up for the win on Dubai’s City Walk. “The strong winds made the stage more difficult, and the guys had to concentrate the whole day. Our goal was to bring Sam into a good position from which to launch his sprint in the last 500 metres. Then it was up to him to decide when to open up his final sprint.
“In the end, our plan worked perfectly. We are of course extremely happy with this result.”
Bennett’s compatriot Dan Martin finished 38th in the sprint, rolling in safely. He ended the week-long race in a fine seventh place overall, one minute 11 seconds behind overall winner Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma). He is building towards the spring Classics, while Bennett is continuing to show he is one of the best sprinters in world cycling.
UAE Tour, United Arab Emirates (WorldTour)
Stage 7, Dubai Safari Park to City Walk: 1, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 145 kilometres in 3 hours 17 mins 51 secs; 2, F. Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates); 3, C. Ewan (Lotto Soudal); 4, A. Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates); 5, E. Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep); 6, P. Bauhaus (Bahrain-Merida) all same time
Other Irish: 38, D. Martin (UAE Team Emirates) same time
Final general classification after stage 7: 1, Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) 26 hours 27 mins 29 secs; 2, A. Valverde (Movistar Team) at 31 secs; 3, D. Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) at 44 secs; 4, E. Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 56 secs; 5, W. Kelderman (Team Sunweb) at 1 min 4 secs; 6, T. Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) at 1 min 8 secs
Irish: 7, D. Martin (UAE Team Emirates) at 1 min 11 secs; 116, S. Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 44 mins 30 secs
Points classification: 1, Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 57 pts; 2, F. Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 52; 3, S. Kuriyanov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) 52; 4, P. Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) 48; 5, C. Ewan (Lotto Soudal) 44; 6, C. Planet (Team Novo Nordisk) 43
Irish: 7, S. Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 34; 13, D. Martin (UAE Team Emirates) 16
Team classification: 1, Bora-Hansgrohe, 78 hours 52 mins 35 secs; 2, UAE Team Emirates, at 35 secs; 3, Astana Pro Team, at 5 mins 46 secs; 4, AG2R La Mondiale, at 5 mins 49 secs; 5, CCC Team, at 8 mins 19 secs; 6, Team Sky, at 8 mins 20 secs