Sam Bennett congratulates stage winner E. Theuns (Trek-Segafredo). Photo credit @BORA-hansgrohe
Carrick on Suir man Sam Bennett crashed out of the sprint honours on the very final leg of the Tour of Turkey today (Sunday).
Thankfully the BORA-hansgrohe rider was able to hop back up on his bike and cross the finish line, but the mishap cost him valuable seconds and the green points-leader jersey.
It was an otherwise fantastic cycling event for the Carrick on Suir cyclist who took four stage wins out of the six-day race.
The last day at the Tour of Turkey was dominated by a breakaway, which was gone for most of the stage. Only 3km before the finish, the peloton closed the gap and another bunch sprint was set up. Sam Bennett and Matteo Pelucchi opened, with later winner E. Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), a small gap over the main bunch. But on the last corner, Sam Bennett hit the ground, he managed to get back on the bike without any injuries but lost the points jersey, while teammate Matteo Pelucchi took second.
The final stage at the 53rd Presidential Tour of Turkey started and finished in the city of Istanbul. 143.7 kilometres with a fourth category climb and one intermediate sprint built today´s last stage. This flat course was again a stage for the sprinters, especially for Sam Bennett, who was the leader in the sprint classification. Michael Schwarzmann had to abandon the race due to some injuries after his crash yesterday.
The pace was high as the race headed into the finale and BORA – hansgrohe started their leadout for Sam Bennett.
At the 2km mark a crash had split the peloton into two groups. Luckily, BORA – hansgrohe was in the leading group. Sam Bennett, Matteo Pelucchi and E. Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) were in front of the race. Suddenly, on the last corner, Sam Bennett slipped away and hit the ground. Matteo Pelucchi and E. Theuns sprinted for the stage win, but Theuns was the fastest man today and took the win ahead of Matteo. In the meantime, Sam Bennett was back on the bike without any injuries, he crossed the finish line but lost the sprint jersey.
Enrico Poitschke, had mixed feelings after this final stage, “It´s a pity, we lost the sprint jersey on the last day. Sam had good legs but hit the ground on the final corner and due to that, he lost the jersey. Luckily, he hasn’t any injuries. Matteo took second, which is really a good result. The tour started perfect but ended with mixed feelings.”
A four-man breakaway escaped relatively early and built up a maximum gap of two minutes. BORA – hansgrohe was presented in the front of the peloton, working for their leader Sam. Silvio Herklotz did a stellar job and took control over the pace in the pack.
The quartet was gone for most of the stage, as the race came into the city centre of Istanbul, the peloton increased the pace. With the gap dropping steadily, it was all back together with only 3km remaining.