A winner again. Today Sam Bennett joined a group of just six Irishmen to have won a stage in the world famous Tour de France. (File Picture).
Carrick-on-Suir man Sam Bennett has today joined the ranks of a select few Irishman to have won a stage of the world famous Tour de France.
In the 10th stage of this year’s event, Sam wrote his name into the history books when winning the sprint finish after what was a blistering fast day of racing.
The 29 year-old cyclist came agonisingly close to a stage win last Monday week when he was pipped on the line by Caleb Ewan, but there was to be no denying Bennett this time around.
In securing today’s victory he joins an elite group of five other Irishmen to have had the honour of a Tour de France stage win, including his fellow townsman Sean Kelly. The other four are 1987 Tour de France overall winner Stephen Roche, Martin Early, Dan Martin, and of course, the first Irishman to do so, Shay Elliott.
Bennett also joins the legendary Elliott as the only Irishman to have won stage victories in the three grand tours, the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana.
Today his Deceuninck - Quick-Step team protected the Carrick-on-Suir man through a fast technical stage from Île d'Oléron to Île de Ré, featuring lots of roundabouts and crosswinds.
Bennett is now back in the green jersey, today’s success adding to the points he had already accrued with good placings in the first week of racing including a second, a third and a fourth finish.
Sam, who has strong connections in both Carrick-on-Suir and in Clonmel, was full of emotion when speaking afterwards.
"I don't think it has hit me. I forgot to throw the bike at the line in the moment and I thought he might have got me.
"I thought I’d be in floods of tears but I’m in shock," before breaking down in tears.
Sam pictured with his grandfather, Pat Cashin, Clonmel.
"I just want to thank everyone that has been involved, the whole team, Patrick for giving me this opportunity and just everybody it took to get to here. I want to thank my wife, everyone around me.
"You dream of it, you never think it’ll happen. It did and, I don’t know, it took for a while to hit me."
Sam is son of Michael and Helen (nee Cashin) to whom we send our congratulations. And of course to his grandfather, Pat Cashin, in Clonmel also.
Well done Sam everyone is so proud.