Ireland’s Sam Bennett won stage 2 of the Presidential Tour of Turkey on Wednesday and in the process took the race’s general classification lead.
The second stage, which covered 155 flat kilometres from Alanya to Antalya, saw a group of four riders up the road open up a gap of some minutes.
Bennett’s BORA – hansgrohe team took control of the peloton, closing the gap shortly before the finish. Approaching the finale, the BORA – hansgrohe train formed a lead-out for Bennett, who claimed an impressive win ahead of Álvaro Hodeg of Quick Step Floors, with UAE Team Emirates rider Simone Consonni third.
Following his win today, Bennett, who claimed four stages in the same Tour last season, said of his success:
“I’m happy. It’s a bit of a relief. I came here after a quiet mid-season. I won’t say I can relax now but some of the pressure has gone. There are still some opportunities to come and the guys did a fantastic job today, as well. I really want to thank them.”
Commenting on the sprint finish, the Irish rider added:
“In the finale, I didn’t really know if we’d caught the breakaway or not because with around 10km to go it was so dangerous that I just had to concentrate on what I was doing. There was talking on the earpiece, and I would have liked to have put my hands up, but Quick-Step Floors came with about 500-600m to go and it was perfect positioning. It’s always good to get a victory going into the off-season. It keeps the morale high when you don’t have much racing. “
Bennett, who was second on stage 1 of the race on Tuesday, now also holds the overall race lead by 6 seconds from Maximilliano Richeze of Quick Step Floors, with a further 6 seconds back to BMC Racing’s Jempy Drucker.
The Belgian-born Irish cyclist also holds the Green Sprint jersey, ahead of Álvaro Hodeg and Jempy Drucker.