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Dublin: 8°C Sunday 25 October 2020
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'I was only wishing I'd be there' - Bennett's 89-year-old Grandad rejoices after Tour de France triumph

The Carrick-on-Suir native secured the green jersey at the final stage on Sunday.

Pat Cashin watches as his grandson secures the green jersey at the Tour de France.
Pat Cashin watches as his grandson secures the green jersey at the Tour de France.

THERE WERE SCENES of joy back home as Sam Bennett stormed to victory and clinched the green jersey at the final stage of the Tour de France.

Bennett’s win on the Champs-Elysees saw him become the first Irishman to win a major jersey at one of the three Grand Tours since Sean Kelly won green at the Tour in 1989.

In Clonmel, Bennett’s 89-year-old grandfather Pat Cashin watched on nervously through the TV screen and rejoiced as the Carrick-on-Suir native beat world champion Mads Pedersen in a sprint finish.

A video of Cashin’s reaction circulated on Twitter after Bennett’s win yesterday, while Tipp FM’s MaryAnn Vaughan visited Cashin’s home for the final stage of the Tour.

“Oh, that was wonderful,” a delighted Cashin said when asked for his initial reaction to Bennett’s victory.

“That was something, that was a race worth winning. Top of the range, wasn’t it fantastic?”

When asked what this means to Cashin and the rest of Bennett’s family, he continued:

“The world. I actually didn’t think he had the legs but it’s absolutely fantastic.

I was only wishing I’d be there. The one year we were prevented from going. To see him on the podium will be something.

“If Coronavirus wasn’t here, there’d have been an army over there to see him win and then you would have seen the excitement.”

Cashin, who was a former photographer for local newspapers, also spoke about some photos of his grandson that he has kept over the years in his home.

One of them shows a very young Bennett speaking down the phone to Santa Claus, asking for his first ever bike.

“I’ve watched every race he ever had since he was a baby and the first bike he ever had, my wife Alice and I bought it for him for Christmas,” Cashin begins.

“It was his first time in Ireland because he was born in Belgium and they came over to live here in Clonmel.

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“That Christmas, we decided to buy him a tricycle. I put the phone up to his ear and said ‘tell Santa what you want for Christmas.’ It’s a beautiful photograph and we had it on the [Tipperary] Nationalist.

Little did I realise that the same guy would win the Tour de France.

“I’m thrilled to bits, can’t wait to see him now.”


Source: Tipp FM Radio/SoundCloud

Bennett and his mother, Helen both spoke on RTÉ Radio 1′s Claire Byrne Live show today.

“It’s surreal,” she began. “We’re just trying to comprehend what Sam has just done. He’s achieved so much and we’re just super proud.”

Helen added that it was heartbreaking not to be in Paris for her son’s march to victory but that they Facetimed him to celebrate the win.

“We would have given anything to have been there but sometimes it’s easier to watch it on TV because I can move in and out. I can close my eyes and walk away.

She added:

“I think my nerves were shattered. It was the most difficult Tour de France, I kept hearing that from everybody. What Sam was doing was phenomenal and we were just in awe of him. Everyday I was shattered and I literally did sleep at night because I was just absolutely shattered watching him.”

Listen to the full interview here. Skip to 1:33:38 to listen to Sam Bennett and his mother Helen.

 

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