Sam Bennett claimed his best result of the Giro d’Italia so far after finishing third on yesterday’s fifth stage of the race into Messina from Pedara.
The bunch sprint was won by Colombian Fernando Gaviria of Quick-Step Floors after he came with a late burst to deny Bennett.
And just when it looked like the Carrick man would hang on for second he was pipped by a fast-finishing Jakub Mareczko of Wilier Triestina.
It’s still an excellent result for the 26-year-old and one he must be very happy with, given the illness he’s had in recent days.
Tuesday’s summit finish on Mount Etna was never going to be one for him but prior to that there were three stages decided in sprints and though his teammate Lukas Postlberger won on the opening day, Bennett was anonymous in the days that followed.
He showed real character to come back from that setback and get up to contest the final yesterday. It was a hectic last 10 kilometres with at least four teams setting up well-drilled lead-out trains. Indeed, Bora-Hansgrohe, Lotto-Soudal, Bahrain Merida and Quick-Step Floors were all jockeying for position.
Bennett showed immense resolve to smoothly surf up to the front of the bunch – though it did require a rather hairy moment with a Quick Step Floors man just as the sprint was about to launch.
He looked to be in a perfect position as he came off the wheel of his teammate and he struck out for victory with his trademark finishing kick.
But the race was 20 metres too long for Bennett as Gaviria found another gear to gallop in for his second win in the race.
His teammate Bob Jungels still retains the race lead after finishing in the bunch.
Today’s stage takes the riders on a flat 2-17 kilometre course from Reggio Calabria to Terme Luigiane.
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