Ireland’s Sam Bennett won the second stage of the Czech Cycling Tour and in the process gained the race leader’s yellow jersey.
An undulating second stage between Olomouc and Frydek-Mistek saw a 5-man breakaway at the front of the race for most of the day. Having taking control of the peloton, Bennett’s BORA – hansgrohe team caught the break in the final 20 kilometres, before eventually leading the Irishman out in the bunch sprint.
On an uphill stretch to the finish, Bennett was the superior sprinter and he comfortably took the win by several bike lengths, in the process becoming the new overall leader of the race.
After the stage, the Irishman admitted that his teammates played a huge role in his stage victory:
“I didn’t feel too good during the day, maybe because it was really hot. Schwarzi and Juraj did an amazing job to control the race. In the end, Pascal delivered me so fast, I just had to go from 200-100m at full gas, and then I already knew I got the win. I am really happy, because on a day the team puts in such an immense effort, the pressure is on to finish it off, but I did it in the end. We have to see how the race goes tomorrow, but if I can survive, there is a good chance to keep the yellow jersey also on the last stage.”
BORA – hansgrohe’s Sports Director Jan Valach admitted that his team will have to continue controlling the stages if they are to eventually win the Tour:
“Everybody is watching us here in this race, so we had to pull right from the start when the break went up the road. With Juraj and Schwarzi we controlled the gap at 2 minutes. In the end, we closed to fight for the win in a sprint. Pascal did a huge turn to Sam in front on the last 500m, and Sam finished it off perfectly. I am very happy with this result and team effort. We are in yellow now, and also tomorrow we will have to control the race.”