Sam Bennett was third on stage 6, the penultimate stage of the Volta a Catalunya, on Saturday.
The stage was shortened due to snow and covered 114km instead of 194.2km. The race started in Pobla de Segur and had one intermediate sprint and one categorised climb before the race finished in Torrefarrera. It was a stage earmarked for the fast men in the peloton.
The Irishman’s tactic was to stay in the peloton to save energy for the finale as a bunch sprint was expected.
Early in the stage Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) and Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) formed the breakaway of the day and built up a maximum gap of four minutes. The peloton started to close the gap with 33km remaining. Bennett’s BORA–hansgrohe team and Mitchelton-Scott took the lead of the peloton, but the breakaway worked very well together and had always a gap of some seconds. As the race headed into the finale, the pair were still in front of the race and it wasn’t possible for the peloton to close the gap.
In a sprint Schachmann took the win ahead of Rubio. The reduced bunch was some seconds behind, where BORA–hansgrohe led the race, with Jay McCarthy setting the pace and the final lead-out for his teammate Sam Bennett. The Irish sprinter took the win out of a reduced bunch and crossed the line in third place overall.
Sam Bennett, who finished second on the opening stage of the race last Monday, said of Saturday’s result:
“It’s a pity we didn’t catch the two leaders, but they rode strong and deserve the win. I felt good today; my legs come better and better. Coming to Catalunya I missed some race kilometres, but now I think my shape is coming good, which is important for the upcoming races.”
Today, Sunday, is the final stage of Volta a Catalunya, a 154.8km stage.