Sam Bennett (BORA – hansgrohe) has taken over the lead in the points classification of the Vuelta a España after taking second place in El Puig on today’s fourth stage.
His team were highly motivated to repeat yesterday’s stage win for the Irishman and helped to control the stage which went from Cullera to El Puig over 175.5 kilometres today, for what looked likely to be another bunch sprint. The day’s only climb was the Puerto del Ornet, a 5.8-kilometre climb at 4.5% average, which topped out 45 kilometres from the finish.
Today’s breakaway saw just two riders out front and with 55 kilometres to go the gap came down to only one minute and it was Pawel Poljanski who helped set the pace at the front of the peloton. As the duo was caught shortly before the finale, the BORA – hansgrohe train formed their lead – out for yesterday’s stage winner.
The finale was earmarked by many roundabouts and corners and in a hectic bunch sprint, it came down to a battle on the line between Sam Bennett and Fabio Jakobsen, who took the win at the end. However, the Irish rider’s second place was enough for the BORA – hansgrohe sprinter to now lead the points classification at the Vuelta a España.
Sam Bennett – “Disappointed to take second place but genuinely delighted for Fabio on his first Grand Tour stage win. Unfortunately, everything that could go wrong went wrong in the final. I lost maybe 5 positions when I went the long way around the roundabout and had to really fight to get back up to the leading positions. Our riders had already made a huge effort working to pull the race back so my thanks to them for that, it simply meant I was fighting for myself to get on the right wheel and I simply ran out of metres. The legs were great so we’ll fight again!”