Irish Examiner View: Covid-19 takes from Sam Bennett's Tour de France celebrations 

Irish Examiner View: Covid-19 takes from Sam Bennett's Tour de France celebrations 

Ireland's Sam Bennett, wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the twenty-first and last stage of the Tour de France race in Paris, last Sunday. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 restrictions he was unable to celebrate with family members. Picture: AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool

Even though it was a great personal and professional moment for Sam Bennett when he won one of the most magnificent final stage victories in Tour de France history on Sunday that great achievement, that moment in the brightest sun was tinged with some unavoidable sadness.

Despite a gruelling three weeks, 21 stages, 58,000m of climbing, 3,482km of road and becoming the first Irish racer to win one of cycling's coveted jerseys since Seán Kelly won it in Paris 31 years ago the wretched pandemic meant Bennett's heartfelt celebrations were muffled through a Covid-19 mask. Not only that, his masked parents and friends could not join him and could only celebrate from a distant Carrick-on-Suir. 

Sporting achievement is fickle and transient as Leinster discovered this weekend but some Everests are so significant that they endure long beyond the moment. Bennett's achievement is one of those despite the shadow cast in it by Covid-19.

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