Sam Bennett: If we keep knocking, the door will open at the Giro d’Italia

Too soon. Sam Bennett shook his head glumly as a Bora-Hansgrohe soigneur helped beat a path for him through the bodies and bikes clogging up the finish area in Eilat after stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia. Too soon to talk about going too soon in the sprint.

After swinging off the bustling Kamen Street and onto a quieter side street, Bennett was able to put some words on his disappointment at placing third for the second successive day in a bunch sprint won by Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors).

“I went too early, I basically gave Viviani a free win, that’s it,” Bennett said softly as he pedalled gingerly towards his night’s lodgings on the Red Sea coast.

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Bennett was sitting in fourth wheel when the peloton slowed to negotiate the final, sharp right-hander with a shade under 250 metres to go, and he opted to open his sprint immediately on emerging from the bend. Bennett opened an early gap, but Viviani quickly moved onto his rear wheel, and then squeezed between the Irishman and the barriers to come past inside the final 80 metres, while Sacha Modolo (EF-Drapac) powered through to claim second place.

“It was just too early, especially when you’re coming out of a corner that slow,” Bennett said. “But I know that if we were coming in at speed, I had the power to hold off anyone there.”

Deviation

While Bennett was making his way towards his hotel, the UCI’s video commissaire was reviewing footage of the finishing sprint and, in particular, his deviation across the road in the final 100 metres. At one point, it appeared as though Bennett might close Viviani against the barriers, but the echoes of a fellow Carrick-on-Suir man’s clashes with Eric Vanderaerden in the 1980s faded as he shifted his line in time to allow the maglia ciclamino to come by.

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