Ireland’s Sam Bennett has experienced an incredible week of success at the 53rd Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey where he has won 4 stages from five so far.
The race began on Tuesday with its flat parcours suiting the sprinters. The BORA – hansgrohe sprint train put Bennett, the recent winner of the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro, into a good position in the lead up to the finale, where he saw out the victory to become the first Irish rider to win a stage in the race’s history.
The second stage took riders from Kumluca to Fethiye over 206km. The stage again favoured the sprinters in the peloton with only two short climbs and a flat finish seeing the Belgian-born Irishman easily take his second successive stage victory.
The following day, stage 3 took the riders over 128.6km from Fethiye to Marmaris on a selective course with a second category climb and one intermediate sprint. With the day dominated by many attacks in the final kilometres, Bennett’s team was able to stay in the first group and the Carrick-on-Suir cyclist charged to his third consecutive stage win ensuring he maintained his grip on the race leader’s turquoise jersey.
The win meant the 26 year-old emulated Isle of Man sprinter Mark Cavendish’s achievement in winning three stages in a single edition of the Presidential Tour of Turkey. The Waterford rider, however, became the first cyclist to claim stage success three days in a row in the modern history of Turkey’s national Tour since its promotion to the pro level in 2008.
On Saturday, Bennett claimed his 10th victory of the season and his fourth Tour of Turkey stage in five days. The peloton covered 166km on a demanding course from Selcuk to Izmir, with two KOM’s (second and third category climbs) and one intermediate sprint along the way.
As the race headed into the closing stages, Bennett found himself with only one leadout man to assist him. He waited until the final metres before he broke and made it look easy as he took a convincing win over Edward Theuns of Trek Seagfredo.
Sam Bennett has had a number of notable successes this year: he won last week’s Sparkassen Münsterland Giro to add to 2 stage wins in both the Czech Cycling Tour and the Tour of Slovenia, also winning the overall points classification in both races. Earlier this season, Bennett won stage 3 of Paris-Nice. He will hope for an incredible fifth stage victory when Istanbul witnesses the grand finale of the Tour of Turkey on Sunday.