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Bennett is proclaimed in Breda king of the sprint, Affini new leader

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In the second sprint of the Vuelta, the powerful figure of Irishman Sam Bennett (Bora Hansgrohe) rebounded, who signed a convincing double in a fast third stage disputed through 193.2 km with start and finish in Breda, in which another Jumbo Visma rider, the Italian Edoardo Affini, went on to put on the red.

Another supersonic day played at 47.1 km/hour, with nerves and “hotheads” like the one that outraged Valverde because the route, with many narrow roads, “seems to pass through the same town 7 times.”

Expected outcome to the sprint, where Bennett raised his arms again. The Bora sprinter, who hadn’t triumphed in the big ones for two years, won the stage with a time of 4:05:53, ahead of the Danish Mads Pedersen (Trek) and the British from Arkea Samsic Daniel McLay.

In the general classification, the alternation of the red jersey continued in the Jumbo Visma, which continues to benefit from its victory in the initial team time trial. Gesink premiered it, in Utrecht he passed it on to Teunissen and in Breda it was donned by the Italian born 26 years ago in Mantua Edoardo Affini.

The transalpine cyclist will arrive in Vitoria to rest as the leader, yes, fictitious, since the real leader of the general classification is the Slovenian Primoz Roglic, who is third, with 13 seconds ahead of the Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz and the Spanish Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos ), both at 13 seconds, more direct rivals to take into account.

SQUAD BLESSED FOR THE MARATHON STAGE

Marathon stage, the longest of this edition that saw off the peloton after 3 days in the Netherlands. The start was blessed at the Cathedral of Our Lady, a symbol of Brabantine Gothic in the city of Breda, through which the platoon passed, some on foot and others by bike. A floral tribute remembered the victims of Covid.

None of the 181 participants had time to enjoy the excellent collection of jerseys that surrounded the temple, some signed by local legends such as Zoetemelk, Jan Janssen, or the Belgian Eddy Merckx, but all were blessed before hitting the road to experience a flat, nervous and complicated day, but favorable for the sprint.

A matter of faith, of strong beliefs, like those of the 7 runners who jumped into the day’s breakaway. José Herrada (Cofidis), Van den Berg (EF Education), forced to defend the mountain jersey, Bakelants (Intermarché), De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH), Pau Miquel (Kern Pharma) and Mikel Iturria (Euskaltel-Euskadi) launched themselves in search of the miracle.

A lot of illusion inverted for an impossible dream. The stages are expensive. The septet did not reach more than 5 minutes of rent at any time. Passing through the fourth quarter tack of Ruzendeweg, the peloton already had the leading group a stone’s throw away. Canadian Michael Woods (Israel), one of the contenders for the podium, was already on his way to the hospital after a hard fall.

BENNETT ADMITS NO RIVAL TO THE SPRINT, AFFINI IN RED

The Belgian De Gendt scored in the lead on the climb and in the intermediate sprint of Sint Willebrord, then allowed himself to be overtaken by the crowd minutes before the end of the breakaway with 14 from the finish line. About to activate the sprint protocol, another fall knocked Carapaz down, but without consequences for the Olympic champion.

Merlier’s Alpecin Deceuninck showed his intentions from afar, he worked hard on the approach throwing a block, but the Jumbo took over to take his troops inside the safety zone of the last 3 km. The then leader, Teunissen, was one more gregarious in the protection of Roglic, the patron of the Vuelta although he is not wearing red.

It was a sprint without order. No team seems to impose its “treno” in the big tests today. There are many formations that come forward to launch their candidates, like the UAE, who attacked hard less than a km away to launch Ackerman. But the men from Bora got in the way, like the now yellows from Arkea, thinking about McLay’s options.

Among all the green figure of the Irishman Sam Bennett emerged again, powerful, powerful, capable of surrendering to all his opponents. who gave the key to victory to the compatriot of the legendary Sean Kelly, winner of four green jerseys in the Spanish round.

It was Bennett’s fifth victory in the Vuelta, proclaiming himself king of the sprint. The rest of the opponents fought like heroes to lose, to accept a dignified, respected defeat, like the one reflected by Velázquez in “The Surrender of Breda”, when the local army troops represented by Justin of Nassau handed over the keys to the city to General of the Spanish army Ambrosio de Spinola.

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