Simon Yates maintains lead after seventh stage of Giro d'Italia

Simon Yates maintains lead after seventh stage of Giro d'Italia

Simon Yates maintains lead after seventh stage of Giro d'Italia

Sam Bennett claimed a maiden Grand Tour stage win by sprinting to victory on stage seven of the Giro d'Italia in Praia a Mare.

Bennett has been in good form so far in the tournament, peaking today with his first Grand Tour stage win in an enthralling finish.

With his win, Bennett becomes the first Irishman to win a stage of the Giro since Stephen Roche in 1987, the year when the Dubliner won his famous triple of Giro, Tour de France and world road race.

Bennett sat on Viviani's wheel until under 100 metres to go when he launched a powerful sprint to take the win in Praia a Mare.

Bennett's one minute eleven seconds behind the overall leader Simon Yates of England but believes that difference could be much less had he ridden a smarter race. "So I got confidence from the fact that they can go a little bit deeper than me with their spikes of power, but that they can't sustain it, and I have to keep reminding myself of that".

"You know, it is not easy to beat Viviani, he really knows what he is doing".

In fact, many of them are packed with mountainous climbs and it will be a struggle for some of the fast man to make it as far as Rome on 27 May.

He said: "Today was about patience. I still need to get some time on Tom Dumoulin and some other guys who are better time trialists than me".

"I just missed it, sadly, but it's certainly within reach later ... and really I'm so pleased to be up there with the best again on one of the most iconic climbs around and in the Giro d'Italia". There were a few close calls, but we made it. When I was in his wheel, at 6 or 7 km to go, he was still looking good.

"Being the first Irish stage victor since Stephen Roche in 1987 shows how hard it is to win a stage at the Giro d'Italia".

The peloton being controlled by Quick-Step, Willier and Mitchelton Scott obviously with the former aiming to put Elia Viviani in prime position come the finish.

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