Sam Bennett won today’s second stage of the Czech Cycling Tour (UCI 2.1) and has now taken over the yellow jersey. It was the fifth win of the season for the Irish rider having already taken victories at Race Melbourne, a stage of Paris-Nice and two stages of the Tour of Slovenia.
An undulating 200-kilometre second stage between Olomouc and Frydek-Mistek, saw a 5-man breakaway in front of the race for most of the day. However, After taking control in the peloton, BORA – hansgrohe caught the break in the final 20 kilometres, before leading out Bennett in a bunch sprint.
On an uphill stretch to the finish, the Irish sprinter was clearly fastest to take the win by several bike lengths from Jan Tratnik (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and Rok Korošec (Amplatz – BMC).
Bennett now leads the race overall by 5″ from Tratnik with Jiri Polnicky (Elkov Author) in third at 6″.
“I didn’t feel too good during the day, maybe because it was really hot,” said Bennett afterwards. “Schwarzi and Juraj did an amazing job to control the race. In the end, Pascal delivered me so fast, I just had to go from 200-100m at full gas, then I already knew I got the win. I am really happy, because on a day the team puts in such an immense effort, the pressure is on to finish it off, but I did it in the end. We have to see how the race goes tomorrow, but if I can survive, there is a good chance to keep the yellow jersey also on the last stage.”
Jan Valach, Sports Director – “Everybody is watching us here in this race, so we had to pull right from the start when the break went up the road. With Juraj and Schwarzi we controlled the gap at 2 minutes. In the end, we closed to fight for the win in a sprint. Pascal did a huge turn to Sam in front on the last 500m, and Sam finished it off perfectly. I am very happy with this result and team effort. We are in yellow now, and also tomorrow we will have to control the race.”