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Sam Bennett (NetApp)
Irish NetApp-Endura rider finishes fourth in Cascina
Ireland's Sam Bennett (NetApp-Endura) continues to impress in the early season sprints, finishing fourth in the chaotic finish at the end of stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico in Cascina despite being blocked in sight of the line.
Bennett won the recent Clasica de Almeria in Spain and was third in the final sprint at the Tour of Oman, earning respect from the best sprinters in the world.
A WorldTour race like Tirreno-Adriatico is another step up, but Bennett was not afraid to use his speed and bike skills in the fight for victory.
He appeared on the left of the road during the sprint and seemed to have a clear run to the line, only to be slowed by Sacha Modolo.
Bennett slumped against a parked car after the sprint, tired from his effort and stunned that he had gone so close to victory.
"I was coming up quick and could see the finish, I thought I was going to do better," he told Cyclingnews.
"It was a really, really messy and dangerous sprint. The guys in the team did a great job again for me. Voss and Zak Dempster did everything they could to put me in the right position. I have to thank them.
"I went a bit early but unfortunately the Lampre rider pushed in over the top of me and didn't keep his line. I had to go over the metal part of the road and it cost me a lot of speed."
Bennett was happy to secure another good result but disappointed not to win. He seems to have the hunger for success that drives every natural born sprinter.
"I'm really, really, happy. Perhaps I shouldn’t be greedy but you always want to do better," he said.