Tour of Britain: Ireland's Sam Bennett wins stage five as Bradley Wiggins defends lead
Last Updated: 20/09/13 10:18am
Sam Bennett has been in fine form during the Tour of Britain
Young Irish rider Sam Bennett continued his outstanding Tour of Britain by sprinting to victory on stage five in Caerphilly as Sir Bradley Wiggins retained his overall lead.
Bennett, the 22-year-old An Post - Chainreaction rider, successfully negotiated two ascents of the category-one Caerphilly Mountain and then timed a late sprint to perfection to outpace Michal Golas (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) and Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) in Caerphilly.
Wiggins and Ian Stannard rolled home in seventh and ninth places respectively to defend their positions at the top of the general classification, where Wiggins still sits 37 seconds ahead of his second-placed Team Sky team-mate.
Wiggins said afterwards: "I knew the route today because I rode it last week and I knew it was going to be the queen stage of the race.
"In the end I used David Lopez and Ian for as long as possible, right to the last kilometre, and they left me with nothing to do other than sit there until the end.
"I don't have the accelerations on the climbs that Dan [Martin] and Nairo Quintana have, but I just time trial because I know how to pace my effort and it works - I won the Tour de France like that.
"It is been a long road to get back to the level I'm at now, but I've worked hard for a good 20 weeks to be in this condition and this is what it is all about."
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The action had begun under rainy skies in the heart of Machynlleth and four riders slipped away shortly after the race had exited the neutrilised zone.
As the conditions cleared, the quartet built a lead of three minutes, but their ranks were weakened when they lost Peter Williams (Team IG Sigma Sport) as they prepared for the first of two ascents up Caerphilly Mountain.
Quintana on the offensive
It was shortly after that when Alex Dowsett (Movistar) produced the first significant move of the day by pushing ahead with team-mate Quintana on his wheel, but they were soon reeled back in by the pack, and the breakaway were also caught ahead of the first ascent of Caerphilly Mountain.
Quintana attacked once again when the road had ramped upwards, and even though he had Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox) for company as they crested the summit, the duo were brought back to heel on the descent that followed.
Quintana was clearly in an combative mood as the Colombian sprung clear for a third time on the last ascent, and on that occasion Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Sergio Pardilla (MTN-Qhubeka) both went with him as they clambered through the massed ranks on the mountain.
Lopez and Stannard's late efforts proved more than a match for their rivals, and the duo restored parity with just 2.5km remaining. By then only 15 riders remained at the head of affairs and it was Bennett who proved the fastest finisher by sweeping around the final corner and wrapping up his third win of the season.
It was a bad day for Dowsett, who fell out of the top 10 on the general classification after finishing 9min 20sec behind the winner in 89th.
Stage five result
1 Sam Bennett (Irl) An Post-Chainreaction, 4:35:28
2 Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step, same time
3 Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling, st
4 David Lelay (Fra) Sojasun, st
5 Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp, st
6 Simon Yates (GB) Great Britain, st
7 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, st
8 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling, st
9 Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky , st
10 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, st
1 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, 20:47:05
2 Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky, +37secs
3 Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling, +43
4 Jack Bauer (NZ) Garmin-Sharp, +55
5 Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +1:12
6 David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky, +1:17
7 Sergio Pardilla (Spa) MTN-Qhubeka, +1:18
8 Simon Yates (GB) Great Britain, +1:23
9 Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp, +1:38
10 Sebastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling, +1:44
- Blue and white jersey (points classification): Sam Bennett (Irl) An Post - Chainreaction
- Green polka dot jersey (mountains classification): Angel Madrazo (Movistar)
- Green and red jersey (intermediate sprints competition): Angel Madrazo (Movistar)