Sam Bennett wins second stage of Four Days of Dunkirk, ending bunch sprint drought

The 33-year-old won for the first time for his team Decathlon Ag2r La Mondiale

Sam Bennett has ended his long drought of bunch sprint wins with a victory on the second stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk in France, his first victory in 311 days, including 56 days of actual racing, and bringing his pro career tally to 63 stage wins in all.

It was also Bennett’s first win for his team Decathlon Ag2r La Mondiale, which he joined at the start of this season, the 33-year-old from Carrick-on-Suir last winning two sprint stages of the Tour of Romania in July of 2023.

Bennett had come close to that sprint victory in the months since, making the podium three times already this season, including at the Tour de la Provence in February.

After the peloton caught the last remaining breakaway rider Cyrus Monk (Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team) with 9km to go, on the 184km stage from Wimereux to Abbeville, Bennett sprinted to victory ahead of runner-up Paul Penhoet of Groupama-FDJ and third-placed Sasha Weemaes (Bingoal WB).


It also moves Bennett into the overall race lead, four seconds ahead of Milan Fretin (Cofidis) and eight seconds ahead of Penhoet as the race heads into Stage 3 on Thursday.

He joins previous Irish winners at the Dunkirk race, Stephen Roche (1989), Sean Kelly (1981) and Shay Elliott (1958), and this result also puts Bennett back in contention for a start in the Tour de France, which gets under way in Italy on June 26th.

Bennett has won 10 Grand Tour stages in the past, including two at the 2020 Tour de France, where he also won the green jersey for the points classification, after winning the final stage into Paris on the Champs-Élysées.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics