Ben­nett rides to third af­ter tar­get­ing Vi­viani

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - RACING -

IRE­LAND’S Sam Ben­nett fin­ished a frus­trated third in yes­ter­day’s sec­ond stage of the Giro d’Italia to Tel Aviv.

It was the fourth time the Bora-Hans­grohe sprinter has come third in a Giro stage, af­ter three third places in the first of cy­cling’s an­nual Grand Tours last year.

Ital­ian Elia Vi­viani won the sprint, with Ja­cob Mareczko just pip­ping the Ir­ish star on the line for sec­ond place.

Vi­viani was the favourite for the day and Ben­nett had said be­fore the race that he would base his tac­tics around Vi­viani.

“He has the best sprint train in this race, and I think my team and I will work off him and let his Quick-Step col­leagues do the work,” said the Car­rick-on-Suir man.

That’s what Ben­nett did and he was well placed to de­liver his kick when it came to the 800m flat straight run to the fin­ish line, but Vi­viani was just too quick.

Ben­nett will try again to­day on what seems cer­tain to be another bunch fin­ish in Ei­lat, the well-known tourist re­sort in the south of Is­rael.

But he will be putting the pres­sure on him­self to win. Be­cause when the race re­sumes in Italy on Tues­day, the coun­try’s moun­tains will be­gin to fig­ure on the race itin­er­ary.

In­deed, it may be that as few as four of the re­main­ing stages for the twoand-a-half weeks of ac­tion in Italy will end in sprints. So chances af­ter to­day will be few and far be­tween for the Irish­man to get that elu­sive first win one of cy­cling’s big­gest races. in by a cho­rus of boo­ing.

O’Sul­li­van, who was wear­ing a kilt and a som­brero en­ter­ing the ring, took the first stanza. Abreu re­sponded well early in the sec­ond but be­gan soak­ing up body shots.

The pun­ish­ment con­tin­ued in the third, and Abreu, who was docked a point for spit­ting out his gum shield to earn a few se­conds’ respite, did not an­swer the bell for the start of the fourth.

“I out­classed him and I did what I had to do. He was get­ting broke up and if he had come out for the fourth it would have been the last (round). The body shots were slow­ing him down,” said O’Sul­li­van.

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