Bennett takes the first sprint
October 23 rd 2020 - 17:33 [GMT + 2]
After three explosive stages to kick-off La Vuelta 2020, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step) made the most of a flat stage en route to Ejea de los Caballeros. The Wolfpack worked for most of the day to ensure a bunch sprint and the Irishman didn’t miss his opportunity, taking victory ahead of Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) and Jakub Mareczko (CCC Team) while Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished fourth. This is Sam Bennett’s third victory on the roads of La Vuelta.
A 167-rider pack roll out of Garray without Dani Martinez (EF Pro cycling) and Simon Geschke (CCC Team). The first flat stage of La Vuelta 2020 inspires four attackers: Harry Tanfield (AG2R La Mondiale), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), Jesus Ezquerra and Willem Smit (Burgos-BH) attack at km 0 and quickly open a 4’ gap before the sprinters teams start controlling the gap.
With a slight tailwind, the attackers cover 48.2km in the first hour but their lead is down to 2 minutes as they enter the last 100km of the stage. Movistar up the ante outside of Borja (km 90). the peloton stretches but doesn’t split. The gap decreases to 20’’ but the breakaway riders are not caught. The pack eventually slows down and the attackers push their advantage en route to Ejea de los Caballeros: 1’30’’ with 65km to go.
Smit, the last survivor
The pack accelerates again inside the last 50km of the stage. They cut the gap down to 34’’ at the intermediate sprint, with 23km to go. Willie Smit tries to survive a bit longer at the front. He is eventually caught 14km away from the finish line.
Sprinters teams maintain a hard pace to make sure nobody would surprise them in the final nervous kilometres. The Deceuninck-Quick Step train hit the front inside the last 5km with a strong work from Rémi Cavagna. And Sam Bennett delivers the victory, his third on the roads of La Vuelta.