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Ireland’s Sam Bennett launched a bold explosive attack, just seconds after he avoided a late crash in a tight hairpin, and took the fourth stage of the Vuelta a Burgos in Spain.
No alone did the Irish rider claim the stage victory, but he also took the race’s green jersey in what was Bennett’s 45th victory in the professional ranks.
The 29-year-old Irish champion is now just four victories behind Stephen Roche in the classification of the most successful Irish riders of all time.
Today’s stage finale was chaotic, a crash derailing the lead-out trains, which included Deceuninck – Quick-Step, after Danish Champion Michael Mørkøv hit the ground. Bennett, who was in an excellent position courtesy of the spectacular work of New Zealand Champion Shane Archbold, was quick to improvise, leaping away with 800m to go and showing everyone a clean pair of wheels.
The uphill road to the line played to Bennett’s advantage, with the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider maintaining his lead and having enough time to sit up and celebrate as he became the first Irishman to claim a win at the Vuelta a Burgos.
“I am so happy with this victory!” admitted Sam Bennett, “It was the last chance for the sprinters and it’s a win that I really needed, as it came at the right moment just ahead of the August races.”
“The finale was very hard and the hot temperatures made it tougher” Bennett continued, before adding “we knew it was going to be a hard fight going into the last two corners, but the guys were fantastic and delivered me where I had to be going under the flamme rouge. When the crash happened, I took a quick look around me to see what was happening and saw that everybody paused for a second, so I decided to go and that was it. I’m glad also that I could win on Specialized’s new bike, which I have to say is really great and played an important role in my win, especially in those last tricky corners. Getting the green jersey is the cherry on the top, but the race isn’t over yet.”