Bennett rides to third after targeting Viviani
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.