Sam Bennett (BORA-hansgrohe) took his second consecutive stage win at the BinckBank Tour today and in doing so, extended his overall lead.
The second stage of the race featured a flat 169.1 km-long course that took the riders from the Belgian coastal city of Blankenberg to the West Flemish town of Ardooie and was, like yesterday, a stage for the fast finishers. Just like on Monday, rain and wind made racing more challenging. However, aside from five cobbled sectors, the route did not present any significant challenges.
The stage featured a Golden Kilometre once again, which provided the riders the opportunity to gain further valuable sprint points. The breakaway of the day formed fairly early and was able to carve out an advantage of almost three minutes before the teams of the sprinters, among them BORA-hansgrohe, took up the chase in earnest. The squad led the main field for a significant amount of time to control the tempo, and the distance to the front group dwindled to less than a minute with 30km left.
The sprinters’ teams had a good chance to contest the win today, and weren’t prepared to let this opportunity slip through their fingers, so it was only a matter of time before the breakaway was caught. With 10km to go, the peloton had the escapees in their sight and it was not long before they were caught.
In the finale, Bennett positioned himself on Dylan Groenewegen’s wheel and when the Irish champion swung out from behind, he launched his sprint and was able to secure the win, his second at this year’s BinckBank Tour. With that, he was also able to extend his lead in the general classification and maintain first place in the points competition.
Sam Bennett – “I can’t believe that I won for a second time here. After 70 km, my legs weren’t feeling the best, and so I was a bit surprised to have pulled it off today. The guys supported me very well and kept me towards the front and in an energy-saving position. In the end, I still had the legs to sprint over the line first. I’m really happy with this win and if possible, I’d like to go for another stage victory here. We’ve had a lot of success here so far, and we’re in good form, so we’ll see what’s possible.”