Tearful Bennett gets maiden Tour victory

Tearful Bennett gets maiden Tour victory

ILE DE RE (France) • Ireland’s Sam Bennett completed his set of Grand Tour victories when he prevailed in the 10th stage of the Tour de France yesterday.

The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider, who already had three Giro d’Italia and two Vuelta stage wins to his name, narrowly outsprinted Australian Caleb Ewan and Slovakian Peter Sagan for his first victory in cycling’s biggest event.

“I don’t think it’s hit me. I’m in shock,” a tearful Bennett said in a TV interview afterwards. “I want to thank my wife and everyone around me. You dream of this and you never think it will happen.

“Sorry, I don’t mean to be a crybaby.”

The result also meant the 29-year-old reclaims the green jersey for the points classification from three-time world champion Sagan. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider is looking to win the jersey for a record-extending eighth time, while Bennett is hoping to become the first Irishman to take the honour since Sean Kelly in 1989.

Jumbo-Visma leader Primoz Roglic kept hold of the overall yellow jersey, remaining 21 seconds ahead of defending champion Egan Bernal of Team Ineos.

All 22 teams set off after every rider tested negative for coronavirus on Monday’s rest day.

However, deputy race director Francois Lemarchand had to wave them off instead of his boss Christian Prudhomme, who was put into quarantine for a week after he was infected by Covid-19.

The International Cycling Union and the organisers said one staff member each from Cofidis, AG2R-La Mondiale, Ineos and Mitchelton-Scott contracted the virus.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex will also be tested as he was in the car of Prudhomme, who is asymptomatic, as they followed the eighth stage on Saturday.

According to the rules, should two members of a team, riders or staff, test positive for the virus, the whole outfit will be kicked out.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS