Sam Bennett is officially back. The Bora-Hansrgrohe sprinter from Carrick-on-Suir, has taken the second stage of the Vuelta a Espana after a bunched sprint finish.
Bennett showed unbelievable strength and speed to pip Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Deceuninck), and Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) at the finish line.
It has been an incredibly tough year for Sam Bennett, as he has struggled hugely with form and injury, and was left out of his team's 2022 Tour de France squad, just two years after winning the points classification in cycling's most prestigious race.
He has shown some excellent form in recent races, and a stage win in one of the three grand tours is official confirmation that he is somewhere near his best, and back to being one of the finest athletes in the country.
Magnificent Sam Bennett
— Eurosport (@eurosport) August 20, 2022
In his Vuelta diary with the Irish Independent, Sam Bennett spoke about his fear of going to the tour and not winning a stage. Thankfully, today's performance will have washed those worries away.
"The biggest fear for me would be to come out with no stage win. That would be a disaster. I’ve never gone to the Vuelta and not won a stage.
"I would have had more than one in each one I’ve ridden if I hadn’t been relegated in a sprint during my last Vuelta, so I’d like to keep that run going but I know it’s not going to be easy and sometimes there is a bit of luck involved.
"While fifth place in the Euros last week was a decent result, I went home ruing the fact that after following the Belgian squad for the last lap, I jumped across to the Dutch train in the final kilometre."