Sam Bennett’s Bora Argon 18 team have said they are taking it “day by day” with regards to Bennett’s condition in this year’s Tour de France.
The Irish rider crashed hard on Saturday’s opening stage, sustaining very nasty injuries to his right hand and it was touch and go whether or not he’d start the following day.
After just about making the time cut on Sunday, he was mightily relieved the peloton took things at a much more pedestrian pace in yesterday’s third stage.
“They went a lot easier so it was actually perfect for a recovery day,” said Bennett.
“OK it was a long, six-hour recovery day but it was good to stay in the peloton for longer and good for the morale as well.
“I didn’t feel better but I went harder and faster and I stayed there longer so that’s a positive.”
A spokesperson for the team said they’ve been monitoring Sam very closely since his crash.
“It looks good, it looks better than Monday because I wasn’t sure he’d make it to the line then,” said the spokesperson.
“We are working really hard on his recovery, he’s suffering really hard.
“I was really worried about him on Sunday and yesterday but he’s fighting. It’s a day by day at this point.”
Yesterday’s stage saw Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) make it two wins in three days; a stunning late burst saw him come from behind and nick it on the line from Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal).
The photo-finish images had to be consulted several times before Cavendish was confirmed the winner.
The big German got ahead on the run to the line, though the Manxman gained gradually in the kick for home and had millimetres to spare on the finish line after 224km from Granville to Angers.
The Briton, who was wearing the green jersey as leader of the points classification, is now equal with Bernard Hinault in the all-time Tour stage winners’ list.
Only Eddy Merckx was won more, with 34 victories to his name, but Hinault and Merckx scored 21 and 17 of their victories in time-trials, respectively.
There was no change in the overall classification, with Peter Sagan of Tinkoff still leading.
Dan Martin of Etixx-QuickStep was 32nd, on the same time as winner Cavendish and he retains his 10th place overall.
He is 14 seconds down on Sagan having finished fourth on yesterday’s second stage.
Bennett was 186th today, losing just 2:03 on what was a very slow day; hopefully a factor that can aid his recovery.
Today’s 237.5km stage from Saumur to Limoges has just one climb – a cat 4 – and so can hopefully be a chance for Bennett to regroup further towards staying in the race.
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