Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) confirmed his good form, as he won the inaugural Race Torquay making it two victories in January, following on from his victory at the Tour Down Under. The race consisted of ten laps of an undulating 13.3km circuit following a clockwise direction.
“This success makes me very happy and feeds my confidence ahead of Sunday, when I hope to be again up there with a shot at victory. The credit goes to the team, who did again a great job and were always there for me”, Bennett said immediately after the finish.
The race was animated by Dries Devenyns (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), who launched an attack after six laps, being joined by Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), together with whom he worked well together, opening up a gap of 55 seconds which spread some panic in the peloton. Eventually, the sprinters’ teams took the front of the pack and narrowed down the advantage of the escapees, who despite their valiant effort, got pegged back with 15 kilometres to go.
A flurry of attacks on the final lap didn’t change the expected outcome and the first edition of Race Torquay culminated in a bunch gallop dominated by Deceuninck – Quick-Step. Michael Mørkøv delivered again a perfectly-executed lead-out, rolling out the red carpet for Irish Champion Bennett, who shot from the peloton and finished comfortably ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) and Alberto Dainese (Team Sunweb).
“After an aggressive start, things became pretty controlled, so I asked the guys to make it harder and kick off the race again, and that’s when Dries went and forced the others to chase. It all came together later and I got an armchair ride to the line. I like the course and the length of the race, even though it was harder than advertised, as it has a bit of everything for everyone, and winning this event after being elevated to UCI status gives me a lot of satisfaction”, added Bennett, who triumphed at Race Torquay twice when it used to be a criterium.