Irish sprinter Sam Bennett does it again on stage two of the 2017 Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, extending his overall race lead

Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) took his second consecutive stage victory in the 2017 Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey on Wednesday, winning the bunch sprint in Fethiye.

The Irish fastman once again propelled himself across the finish line clear of his nearest rivals, with Belgian Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) improving on his third place from the opening stage with second this time around. Italian Riccardo Minali (Astana) claimed third place.

On the previous day’s stage one, Bennett became the first Irish rider to take a victory in the history of the race – now the nation and Bennett have two wins out of two.

>>> Sam Bennett: ‘The pressure to win smaller races will make me a better rider’

Bennett now leads Theuns overall by 10 seconds thanks to his winner’s bonus seconds. Marco Benfatto (Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia) is third at 14 seconds.

At 206 kilometres, stage two is the longest of the 2017 race, and it kicked off from Kumluca with two riders in the day’s escape group: Turkish national champion Onur Balkan (Turkey national team) and Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF).

Alfonso Murilo (Soul Brasil Cycling) bridged over to the two leaders at around the half-way point, taking advantage of a relatively slow pace to the day’s proceedings.

Sergei Chernetckii (Astana) got caught in a crash, and came down heavily. He abandoned the race, reportedly suffering with concussion.

Balkan was dropped, leaving just Maestri and Murilo out front with a slender two-minute lead over the bunch, and they were caught with 12km to go.

WorldTour teams Bora-Hansgrohe, Trek-Segafredo and Astana led the way at the head of the peloton to set up the bunch sprint.

Despite not having a lead-out from his team, Bennett looked to be in a class of his own to take the victory after tagging onto the back of Theuns in the run-in to the line, then accelerating ahead.

The 2017 Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey continues on Thursday with stage three from Fethiye to Marmaris over a 128.6km route. The UCI WorldTour-level race concludes on Sunday, October 15.

Result

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey 2017, stage two: Kumluca to Fethiye, 206km
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 6-02-06
2. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
3. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana
4. Marco Benfatto (Ita) Androni-Sidermec-Bottechia
5. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
7. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Androni-Sidermec-Bottechia
8. Ahmet Örken (Tur) Turkey national team
9. Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani-CSF, at same time
10. Frantisek Sisr (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice, at 2 secs

General classification after stage two
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 9-59-12
2. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo, at 10 secs
3. Marco Benfatto (Ita) Androni-Sidermec-Bottechia, at 14 secs
4. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana, at 16 secs
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 19 secs
6. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani-CSF, at 19 secs
7. Mirco Maestri (Ita) Bardiani-CSF, at 19 secs
8. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni-Sidermec-Bottechia, at 19 secs
9. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 20 secs
10. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia, at 20 secs