The Irishman scored Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 99th Grand Tour stage victory.
Sam Bennett racked ups his seventh win of the season after a flawless teamwork and a powerful sprint on stage 4 of the Vuelta a España, which on Friday gave the sprinters a rare opportunity to fight for glory in Ejea de los Caballeros. For Bennett, who is doing his second three-week race of the season after the Tour de France, where he became the first Irishman in 31 years to win the famous green jersey, it was the eighth win in a Grand Tour, one which underlined his status as one of the world’s best sprinters.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step drilled the pace at the front of the peloton since the start of the 191.6km-long stage and their hard work paid dividends, as the four men who spent the day in the breakaway got caught ten kilometers from the finish. Our team continued to be at the head of affairs, aware that positioning would be key in the technical last kilometers, which contained some undulating roads and tight corners.
Michael Mørkøv and Zdenek Stybar, both stage winners at the event a few years ago, provided a textbook lead-out to the Irishman, who kicked out with 150 meters to go and produced a devastating turn of speed that allowed him to overtake Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) – who tried to anticipate the downhill sprint – and win by almost a bike length.
“It was so fast in the run-in, and actually, it was fast all day and I was a bit nervous, got to admit that. We said we needed to come together at one point and the team did the job perfectly. They came together when we needed to and even more than we asked to be. We only asked a few guys to be there and the whole team was there.”
“I went for the outside and Philipsen came up the inside and got such a jump I actually didn’t think I was going to be able to catch him. But in the end, I started getting more and more speed and I was still accelerating to the line. I had the power but he was so explosive out of the corner and I didn’t know if I would catch him. But I found the speed I needed, and in the end, I managed to overtake him and take my first win since Champs-Élysées, which feels amazing”, a delighted Sam explained after picking up Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 39th victory of the year.
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