TIPPERARY’S SAM BENNETT further enhanced his sprinting reputation with an excellent third-placed finish in Stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia in Sicily this afternoon.
The Carrick-on-Suir cyclist has been making quite a name for himself in recent years and showed serious speed among elite company to claim his second top-10 finish of the race.
Bennett finished strongly in Bora-Hansgrohe colours but was pipped on the line by Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria of Quick-Step Floors, who claimed his second stage win of the race, and Italian Jakub Mareczko of Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia.
Gaviria had taken the race lead by winning Sunday’s third stage and achieved his second success at the finish of the 159km ride from Pedara to Messina.
Bennett’s third-place finish pushed German powerhouse Andre Greipel into fourth and saw him also edge the likes of Italian Kristian Sbaragli and German Phil Bauhaus.
Bennett (in black colours, to Gaviria’s right) finished ninth in the opening stage of the Giro, his team-mate Lukas Postlberger taking the win after initially leading the Tipp man out for the final sprint.
Bennett claimed an historic victory two months ago when becoming the first Irish man in 28 years to win a stage of Paris-Nice and a Grand Tour stage win appears to be a matter a time for the 26-year-old.
Team Sky’s Philip Deignan, Ireland’s other Giro d’Italia competitor, finished in the peloton of the 191-man field, 20 seconds behind the sprinters.
Luxembourg’s Bob Jungels, also of Quick-Step, retained the race leader’s pink jersey ahead of tomorrow’s 217km sixth stage from Reggio Calabria to Terme Luigiane.
Deignan is in 56th position in the general classification while Bennett is 184th overall with 16 stages remaining of the Giro’s 100th edition.
Spare a thought for Luka Pibernik who thought he’d won the stage with one lap still to go. Needless to say, he wasn’t in contention when the sprinters went hell for leather next time around.
with reporting from (C) AFP 2017
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