Irishman Sam Bennett was left in tears after sprinting to a maiden stage win on the Tour de France on Tuesday after an Atlantic coast run between the islands of Oleron and Re. The Deceuninck team rider’s stage 10 victory, on his Tour debut, ensured he reclaimed the sprint points green jersey. It also followed a dramatic start to the day as Tour director Christian Prudhomme tested positive for Covid-19 while the entire peloton returned negative tests.
Wearing his Irish champion’s tunic Bennett narrowly edged Australia’s Caleb Ewan while peloton superstar Peter Sagan came third to cede the green jersey on a sunny day attended by more fans than on any previous day in the region famous for its huge oysters and other shellfish in the mud flats. After the finish line on the chic Island of Re Ewan quickly rode alongside the winner to fist bump in a rare show of empathy between sprinters. Surrounded by his teammates Bennett watched a replay before clenching his first and cheering.
“It’s almost a relief,” said the 29-year-old who had four near misses before finally clinching this win after a frantic 168.5km-long stage 10. Bennett said he could hardly think straight at the end of the stage.
“I threw my bike over the line to get the win but I was so excited I almost forgot to do it,” he said.
ONBOARD BIKE FOOTAGE
RBA/AFP Photos Bettini