Vuelta a Espana 2022 : Stage 2 – Sam Bennett ends drought with a vintage victory

The 2022 Vuelta a Espana hit the open roads today for a zip through the flatter part of the Netherlands on Stage 2. The expected bunch sprint finished the stage off with Bora-hansgrohe’s Sam Bennett proving to be the fastest of the fast guys, crossing the line ahead of Mads Pedersen of Trek-Segafredo and Tim Merlier of Alpecin-Deceuninck. Jumbo-Visma seem to be passing the leader’s jersey around the team, with Mike Teunissen wearing it for stage 3 .

Decisions, decisions

Dear reader, a friend with an interest in psychology told me this week that our lives are the manifestation of every decision we have made. Some decisions have short-term consequences, other times a seemingly small thought can still be felt through the rest of your life.

In 1964, Bruce Springsteen heard ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ by the Beatles and decided that it was guitars for him from then on. Nearly 60 years later, he’s still performing on stages around the world.

In 1990 Joanne Rowling decided to write a book about a character she dreamed up whilst waiting on a train. Harry Potter’s presence is felt around the world today.

In the late 1980s, a young boy in Glasgow was entranced by the Tour de France highlights. He decided that this mysterious and exotic sport was the one for him.

That decision led to me sitting today, on perhaps the last sunny Saturday of the summer, watching 182 men cycling 175 kilometres from ’S Hertogenbosch to Utrecht and not much happened.

It made me question my life choices. Why hadn’t I bought a guitar with the birthday money from my gran? Why didn’t I invent a cool wizard when my train was late? No, I’m stuck with having to watch people in tight-fitting Day-Glo clothing pedal for hours.

Maybe a better choice would be to go and see the race for real? Not so, let’s hear from Katy, our person on the ground.

Excuse me, I came here to read about the actual cycling

Right, back to the racing. Surely, I can muster up something from my four hours of viewing?

Well, it was possibly the most formulaic grand tour stage of the year.

There was a break that was always dooooomed. But it did look pretty.

There were farmers a-protesting.

Alpecin-Deceuninck did all the work chasing down the break, only to get none of the result at the end.

EF’s Julius van den Berg was the first man over a little hump in the road and will wear the King of the Mountain’s jersey tomorrow.

And then the sprint…

As years go, it’s been a pretty wretched one for Sam Bennett. This season, he’s had just one victory before today and with his Bora team focussing more on their GC ambitions, he didn’t get to go to either the Giro or the Tour. It was touch and go whether he’d be dispatched to the Vuelta! With his selection finally confirmed, he must have felt under enormous pressure to get a stage win.

So how pleasing must it be for him to get that win at the first opportunity? And it was quite a decisive victory too. He was always going to be faster than Mads Pedersen in a like-for-like sprint, and Tim Merlier was pushed out of position on the sprint’s final bend.

Watch it here and enjoy the hypnotic recital of the name ‘Bennett’ on Spanish commentary.

The Irishman praised his teammate Danny van Poppel saying “Danny didn’t deliver me, he launched me”.

This may be Bennett’s first grand tour stage win in two years, but he says he never worried it wouldn’t come: “It’s nice. I knew I’d do it again. What I’m really happy about is continuing my pattern of winning at least one stage in every grand tour I’ve done since 2018.”

Another Dutch Red

The fourth man home was Jumbo’s Mike Teunissen who takes the lead of the Vuelta and the red jersey from teammate Robert Gesink. Which means there’s another Dutch rider in rojo for the Vuelta’s last day in the Netherlands.

Up next

Oh look… it’s another flat day in the Netherlands… I have a decision to make…


Stage 2 results

1 Sam Bennett (Bora-handshoulderskneesandtoes) 3:49:34

2 Mads Pedersen (Trek-Secondplaceo0 same time

3 Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Doallthework) s/t

4 Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Newteamsky) s/t

5 Pascal Ackermann (UAE Whendidhesignforthem) s/t

 GC Top 10

1 Mike Teunissen (Jumbo Visma) 4:14:14

2 Edoardo Affini (Jumbo Visma) same time

3 Sam Oomen (Jumbo Visma) s/t

4 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) s/t

5 Sepp Kuss (Jumbo Visma) s/t

6 Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:12

7 Richard Carapaz (EF just kidding! Ineos) – +0:13

8 Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:13

9 Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:13

10 Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) +0:14

All the Jerseys

Leader’s jersey : Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma)

Points jersey : Sam Bennett (Bora)

King of the Mountains jersey : Julius van den Berg (EF Education Easy-Post)

Young Rider Jersey : Ethan Hayter (INEOS Grenadiers)

Team competition : Jumbo-Visma

For the full stage review, go to cyclingnews

Go here for the official La Vuelta website

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