Bennett immediately doubles up

La Vuelta 2022 | Stage 3 | Breda > Breda

Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) is on a roll! On the day after his win in Utrecht, his first Grand Tour success in two years, the Irishman sprinted to another victory in Breda at the end of stage 3 of La Vuelta 22. He dominated Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Dan McLay (Arkea-Samsic) to take his 10th Grand Tour stage win, the 5th in La Vuelta. Never had he claimed two stage wins in a row in three-week events. The final stage in the Netherlands also saw a third rider from Jumbo-Visma take La Roja: Edoardo Affini, after Robert Gesink and Mike Teunissen. The race will resume on Tuesday, in Basque country.

The peloton set off from Breda for a 193.2km loop around the Dutch city with 181 riders. Spanish and Dutch baroudeurs lead the first breakaway attempts until Belgium’s Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) launches a successful attack at km 4. He is joined at the front by Julius van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost), wearing the polka-dot jersey on his Dutch roads, as well as Jose Herrada (Cofidis), Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH), Pau Miquel (Kern Pharma) and Mikel Iturria (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

Woods crashes and abandons

They rapidly open a gap of 3 minutes but sprint teams are also quick to react. Sam Bennett’s Bora-Hansgrohe, Mads Pedersen’s Trek-Segafredo and Tim Merlier’s Alpecin-Deceuninck are the most involved to drive the chase. The attackers fly through the wind, maintaining an average speed of 45km/h in the first two hours. But the gap is down to 2 minutes as they enter the last 100km.

In the bunch, Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) suffers a crash with his teammate Itamar Einhorn. The Canadian climber, a 2-time stage winner in La Vuelta, is forced to give up on his GC ambitions as he has to abandon the race.

Van den Berg defends the polka dots

The tension increases in the bunch and the gap drops down to 1’ ahead of the climb of the day, Rijzendeweg (km 133.8). Thomas De Gendt comes first at the summit, ahead of Julius van den Berg, who successfully defends his leadership in the KOM standings before leaving the Netherlands to go to the Basque country.

De Gendt also dominates the intermediate sprint (km 170.6) and then drops back to the bunch. Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) is involved in an incident with 19km to go, but he quickly gets back to the bunch with Pavel Sivakov and Tao Geoghegan Hart.

Bennett, unleashed

The break is eventually reeled in with 11km to go. And the battle for the front positions of the bunch is full on both for the sprinters and the GC leaders.

Alpecin-Deceuninck and UAE Team Emirates try to set Tim Merlier and Pascal Ackermann for the win. But Bora-Hansgrohe surge to the front inside the final 500m and Sam Bennett sprints to his second stage win in a row.

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