Vuelta 2019: Stage 3 – Double Irish as Bennett wins the stage and Roche retains red

Stage three of the 2019 Vuelta threw up joy for the Irish with Sam Bennett (Bora hansgrohe) winning the bunch sprint and Sunweb’s Nicolas Roche holding on to the leader’s red jersey.

The race’s first two stages featured teams falling like skittles and a climber winning a sprint stage. Today the race served up a cookie-cutter day at a grand tour. There was a break, it got caught, Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal) tried to get away, he got caught, there was a bunch sprint. Sam Bennett won it.

Rider of the Race

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Sam Bennett all the way. He won by a good few bike lengths, pretty much as expected, but this win was so much more than that.

Bennett has spent a year winning races for Bora hansgrohe but has missed out on selection for the first two grand tours of 2019. The Irish National Champion didn’t complain in the media, he didn’t sulk and down tools. Bennett just kept on winning. After his first-ever Vuelta stage win, you couldn’t begrudge him a little “I told you so” swagger but instead, he was the same level-headed guy we’ve seen all year.

I can’t tell you how relieved I am at that. I could relax follow the team and be in the right place at the right time. I knew it would be fast. I wanted to kick first and I did.

I’m delighted to get another victory but more so to do it in the Irish champion’s jersey.

See how emphatic his victory is here:

What else happened?

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Eh… not much. Fernando Gavira struggled with the pace today, perhaps still suffering after the UAE TTT wipeout. Illness forced FDJ’s Mickael Delage to become the first abandon of the race and Sergio Higuita of EF-longlonglong moved up one place on GC after winning the final bonus sprint.

Stage results

1 Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 4:25:02

2 Edward Theuns (Trek) same time

3 Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) s/t

4 Jon Aberasturi (Caja Rural) s/t

5 Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Merida) s/t

GC standings

1 Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) 9:51:14

2 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +0:02

3 Rigoberto Uran (EF-andallthat) +0:08

4 Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott) +0:22

5 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +0:33

6 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0.35

7 Sergio Higuita (EF-pleasedontmakemewriteitagain) +0:37

8 Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) +0:38

9 David Formolo (Bora Hansgrohe) +0:46

10 Rafal Majka (Bora Handgrohe) +0:46

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey: Nicolas Roche (Sunweb)

Points jersey: Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Climber’s jersey: Angel Madrazo (Burgos)

Young Rider’s jersey: Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)

Team classification: Team Sunweb

Official Vuelta website is here;  Full stage review from cyclingnews

Header image: © Tim de Waale Getty Images

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