Ireland’s Sam Bennett won today’s first sprint stage of La Vuelta 2022, his fourth career stage win in the Spanish Grand Tour.
In a tight finish the Bora-Hansgrohe rider outsprinted Mads Pedersen of Trek-Segafredo and Tim Merlier from Aplecin-Deceuninck in the days 175.1 kilometre flat stage from ‘s-Hertogenbosch to Utrecht in the Netherlands.
With an excellent leadout from his Bora-Hansgrohe team, the Irish rider was well placed nearing the finish of the day’s action.
Danny van Poppel launched Bennett with the Carrick-on-Suir cyclist able to pull alongside the Pedersen before crossing the line first to win Saturday’s stage.
Merlier finished third with Jumbo-Visma’s Mike Teunissen coming home fourth and taking the race leader’s red jersey as a result.
“To win here is really nice,” an ecstatic Bennett admitted. “I knew I could win again at this race, but it was just a matter of time. Huge thanks to my teammates, who really did a strong job for me today, especially Danny (van Poppel) who rode a really fantastic lead-out. I’m very proud that I was able to reward all their hard work with the win.”
Today’s stage win was a second victory of the year for Bennett and his first in a Grand Tour since 2020.
Bora-Hansgrohe’s Sports Director Bernie Eisel felt Bennett’s stage 2 success was a perfect start to La Vuelta for his team, stating:
“It was extremely important for Sam and for the whole team to have such a good start to the Vuelta, and of course it really gives us a boost for the next few days. So, all in all, perfect teamwork was crowned with an incredibly strong sprint win today.”
Bennett now leads the points classification on 67 points and will wear the green jersey on Sunday.