Sam Bennet's (Dan Morrissey) name may not have been on the lips of many pundits ahead of another bunch sprint in the Ras, but the Irishman suprised many with his sprint win in the penultimate stage of the race.
Bennet's win was remarkable not least because it was his first appearance at the Ras, but also because he is only 18 years of age. Added to the fact that he beat some formidable opposition in the process, then it can be described as a staggering performance.
So far, this year's Ras has been dominated by the experienced hands of the sport, like Tour de France stage-winner Jann Kirsipuu, but Bennet's win tipped the balance in favour of the emerging talent in the race.
Whilst the home nation has not had much to shout about in the general classification this year, Bennet's win was the second Irish bunch sprint in a row.
Once again, it was the Rapha Condor team of race leader Simon Richardson that took charge of the day's proceedings. Their only threat came from a solo attack from Stephen Barrett of the national team, but on such a flat day it was only ever going to come down to a bunch sprint.
After four top-ten performances in the Ras so far, Bennet's consistency was rewarded with a stage win.
Meanwhile, on the general classification, there was little change as Rapha's Simon Richardson kept control of the leader's yellow jersey with just one stage remaining.
STAGE SEVEN RESULTS:
1. Sam Bennett (Dan Morrissey)
2. Joachim Tolles (Kuota-Indeland)
3. Jaan Kirsipuu (Giant-Veolia)
4. Niko Eeckhout (An Post Sean Kelly)
5. Russel Downing (CandiTV Marshalls Pasta)
6. Nicholas Walker (Cinelli-Down Under)
7. Paul Healion (Irish National Team)
8. Ian Wilkinson (Halfords Bike Hut)
9. Barry Monaghan (AN DÚN Newry Whs. CC)
10. Luke Roberts (Kuota-Indeland)
1. Simon Richardson (Rapha Condor)
FBD Insurance Ras: The Big Preview
Official race website: www.fbdinsuranceras.com
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