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Sam Bennett of Deceuninck-Quick Step realised a life’s ambition when winning Tuesday’s 10th stage of the Tour de France.
The Carrick-On-Suir rider, who became the sixth Irishman to win a stage in the Grande Boucle, held off Australian Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) to take victory in Ile de Re Saint-Martin-de-Re.
Twenty-nine-year-old Bennett’s win gave his Belgian Deceuninck – Quick-Step team a second stage win at this year’s Tour following the victory of Julian Alaphilippe on stage 2.
Bennett’s victory means he has won a stage at all three of cycling’s Grand Tours, having taken three at the Giro d’Italia in 2018 and two at the Vuelta a Espana in 2019, both for his former team, Bora-Hansgrohe.
Bennett who has shown great consistency since the beginning of this year’s Tour, with second, third and fourth place finishes during the opening week of the race, said of his first Tour de France stage win:
“You dream of it and never think it will happen. It hasn’t hit me at all yet. Oh man, I was waiting to go and I thought I might have left it too late. I thought he might have got me.”
While reflecting on the day’s sprint, the Irish cyclist admitted:
“I forgot to throw the bike at the line in the moment and I thought he might have got me. I thought I’d be in floods of tears but I’m in shock.”
Bennett, who became very emotional and broke down in tears, continued:
“I just want to thank everyone that has been involved, the whole team, Patrick for giving me this opportunity and just everybody it took to get to here. I want to thank my wife, everyone around me.
“You dream of it, you never think it’ll happen. It did and, I don’t know, it took for a while to hit me.”
To add to today’s success, Bennett now regains the lead in the points classification, by 21 points, from seven-time green jersey winner Peter Sagan.
Tour de France leader Primoz Roglic retained the yellow jersey as he safely negotiated the flat 168.5km route from Ile d’Oleron Le Chateau. The Slovenian maintains his 21 seconds advantage over defending champion Egan Bernal.
In the day’s intermediate sprint Matteo Trentin (CCC) outsprinted Peter Sagan and Sam Bennett at Châtelaillon-Plage with 39 kilometres to go. Jumbo-Visma and Ineos-Grenadier put the pressure on with 18 kilometres to race before the bunch split into three pieces.
With the field back together 10 kilometres from the finish, Jumbo-Visma kept the situation under control before Nicolas Roche’s Team Sunweb went to the front. In the end, it was the races big sprinters who fought it out, with the Carrick-On-Suir man coming out on top.
Bennett becomes the sixth Irishman to win a stage at the Tour de France after Shay Elliott (1963), Seán Kelly (1978, 1980, 1981 and 1982), Stephen Roche (1985, 1987 and 1992), Martin Earley (1989) and Dan Martin (2013 and 2018).
Stage 10 result
- Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 3hrs 35mins 22secs.
- Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) same time.
- Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time.
Dan Martin finished 130th on the stage, 5 minutes and 25 second behind his fellow Irish rider. Martin’s cousin Nicolas Roche was 10 minutes 52 seconds back after a crash.
Martin is now the highest ranked of the three Irish riders at this year’s Tour, standing in 64th place on general classification, 1 hour 11 minutes and 13 seconds behind the race leader Primoz Roglic.