Sam Bennett narrowly misses out on second stage win at Vuelta a San Juan

Irish rider pipped at the line by Australian Sam Welsford at conclusion of penultimate stage

Sam Bennett went extremely close to taking his second stage win in the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina late on Saturday, being pipped in the final metres by Sam Welsford (Team DSM) in a mass sprint to the line.

Bennett received a strong leadout from his team and then launched his sprint, fending off a challenge from European champion Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal – Quick Step). However the Australian rider Welsford blasted through right before the line, with Bennett having to be content with second place.

This adds to his first place on stage one, fourth on stage two and third on stage three.

Bennett and fellow Bora-hansgrohe Irishman Ryan Mullen finished well back on Friday’s tough mountain stage but Saturday’s race was far better suited to the duo. It started and concluded at the Velódromo Vicente Chancay and was 144.9 kilometres in length. Undulating in profile early on, the final 90 kilometres were either flat or downhill, making a bunch sprint the most likely outcome.


Seven riders did what they could to avoid this scenario, going on the attack early on and working hard to try to fend off the peloton. They were, however, all reeled in before the finish, with the sprinters’ teams working to put their designated riders into the best possible position.

Bennett had hoped to land his second win of the season. He sprinted towards the line close to the barriers on the right hand side but Welsford, galloping in the centre of the road, benefitted more from the cross-tailwind and finished more rapidly.

The Vuelta a San Juan concludes on Sunday with a flat stage to San Juan, handing Bennett another opportunity to land a second stage win.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling