Bennett makes it double joy for Ireland with Tour of Spain stage victory

Ireland's Sam Bennett clinched victory on the fourth stage of the Tour of Spain

Ireland's Sam Bennett clinched victory on the fourth stage of the Tour of Spain

By John Brennan

Sam Bennett made it a great double success for Irish cycling at the Tour of Spain when he won the fourth stage, a 190km trip from Garray to Ejey.

It was always destined to end in a sprint and Bennett showed great power and poise to come around Dutch rider Jesper Philipsen and take the honours, handily enough in the end.

The victory comes after Dan Martin’s success on Thursday, making it back-to-back wins in a Grand Tour by Irish riders for the first time.

“I thought Jesper had got away from me in the end, but I had the power and was able to come around him. My team had worked hard for me to make sure this would be a sprint, and it was great to repay them,” said the 30-year-old from Carrick-on-Suir.

The win completed a couple of ‘thirds’ for Bennett. It was his third Grand Tour stage win of the year, to go with the brace won at the Tour de France, And it was his third career stage win at the Tour of Spain, to go with the pair won last year.

Bennett has now won eight stages in Grand Tours, two in France, three in Italy and three in Spain. But he still has a bit of a way to go to catch up with the real ‘King’ of Carrick-on-Suir. For Sean Kelly won 21 stages in the big three Tours in his career.

Dan Martin finished safely in the bunch on this quiet day for him and is still second overall, five seconds behind the race leader Primoz Roglic.

Martin still holds the green jersey for the most consistent finisher in the race and surely has a better chance of winning it than Bennett, such are the number of mountainous stages in this year’s Vuelta a Espana.

But there are still five stages in the next fortnight in Spain that might end in big bunch sprints, and after this superb performance, Bennett will fancy his chances in all of them.

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