Sam Bennett still frustrated during the fifth stage of the Tour of Turkey


There was more frustration for Sam Bennett on stage five of the Tour of Turkey on Thursday, with the Irishman nearly crashing twice in the final kilometer, having a chain dropped and crossing the line in 11th place.

Bennett was trailed heavily by his Bora-hansgrohe teammates, including Irish national champion Ryan Mullen, who led the pace until the final mile. Bennett moved left to follow other runners and collided with the shoulders of Itamar Einhorn (Israel Start Up Nation), which caused a domino effect resulting in a crash.

Bennett and leading man Danny van Poppel got back into position and were close to the front with 300 yards to go, Van Poppel then launching his big header effort.

However, they found themselves having to take a longer line through a fast curve in the road, putting them several bike lengths behind the riders on the inside line. Bennett then had to go the long way around Van Poppel when he started his own sprint to the line, further delaying him and ending his chances.

He nearly crashed again when he and Arvid De Kleijn (Human Powered Health) made contact, the impact knocking Bennett’s foot off his pedals and his chain coming loose. He crossed the line a disappointed 11th.

Bennett went for his first win in almost a year after suffering a knee problem last season. There is a feeling that a stage win would have a huge effect on his confidence and would probably bring more success, but securing this victory turned out to be more complicated than originally expected. His best position in the race was third on stage two.

“In the last kilometers everything was very hectic,” said Bora-hansgrohe sporting director Bernhard Eisel. “Sam was unlucky when another rider hit him, and he had to let go of a pedal. Of course, we’re not happy with the result, but we’ll try again tomorrow.

The stage was won by Australian Sam Welsford (Team DSM), who edged out Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) and the rest of the peloton to the line.

Eduardo Sepulveda (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) maintains his lead of 13 seconds over Patrick Bevin (Israel-Premier Tech) at 13 seconds.

Friday’s stage to Eceabat ends with a 400 meter climb.

Elsewhere, Rás Mumhan returns on Friday for the first time in three years. The four-day event will kick off with a 90 kilometer stage starting and finishing in Tralee. The following day is the longest stage of the race, a 120 kilometer stage from Killarney to Sneem, of which the Easter Sunday stage based around Knocknagree is 10 kilometers shorter.

The event will then conclude on Easter Monday with a 96 kilometer battle based in Knocknagashel.

There is a field of 150 runners with participants from Ireland, Scotland and England. This year, the race will allow juniors to participate and they will share a prize pool of €6,000.

Presidential Tour in Turkey (2.Pro)

Stage 5, Manisa to Ayvalik: 1 Sam Welsford (Team DSM) 186.1 kilometers in 4:13.49, 2 J Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), 3 A De Kleijn (Human Powered Health), 4 R Zabel (Israel-Premier Tech), 5 I Einhorn (Israel -Premier Tech) all at the same time

Irish: 11 S Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe), 29 R Mullen (Bora-hansgrohe) each time, 118 C McGeough (Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling) at 1.44, 142 J Ewart (Bike Aid) at 2.42

General classification after stage 5: 1 Eduardo Sepulveda (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) 19:18.07, 2 P Bevin (Israel-Premier Tech) at 13 sec, 3 J Vine (Alpecin-Fenix) at 25 sec, 4 H Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) at 37 sec, 5 To Halland Johannessen (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) at 46 sec.

Irish: 79 R Mullen (Bora-hansgrohe) at 3:53 p.m., 91 S Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) at 5:50 p.m., 94 C McGeough (Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling) at 6:27 p.m., 103 J Ewart (Bike Aid) at 10:22 p.m.

Points: 1 Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 57, 2 K Groves (Team BikeExchange – Jayco) 42, 3 C Ewan (Lotto Soudal) 35. Irish: 7 S Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) 26


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