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Sam Bennett comes up short despite help from Peter Sagan in San Juan

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The Vuelta a Sn Jun stage 1 podium (l-r) Matteo Malucell (Caja Rural), Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe)

The Vuelta a Sn Jun stage 1 podium (l-r) Matteo Malucell (Caja Rural), Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Szymon Sajnok, Sam Bennett and Mihkel Raim on the podium

Szymon Sajnok, Sam Bennett and Mihkel Raim on the podium
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Stage 1 winner Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18)

Stage 1 winner Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18)
(Image credit: ASO)

Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) beat Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) at the end stage 6 of the Vuelta a San Juan but with the peloton failing to catch the three-rider break of local riders, Bennett's strong finish only netted him fourth place in the results.

Germán Tivani (Agrupacion Virgen De Fatima) won the sprint on the San Juan Villicum motor racing circuit, earning the cheers of the huge local crowed, who celebrated a defeat of the big-name WorldTour riders in a battle of David versus Goliath.

Bennett finished 12 seconds behind Tivani, Daniel Diaz (Municipalidad de Pocito) and Daniel Zamora (Agrupacion Virgen De Fatima) despite a furious but late chase on the flat roads on San Juan.

Bennett could see the three as he exited the final curve of the motor racing circuit but the WorldTour teams had left it too late to catch them.

"I seem to have too many of these finishes, I had two last year and now one this season," Bennett admitted before escaping the crowd that invaded the pit-lane.

The Irishman was gutted to miss out again after finishing third on stage 1 but did not blame his teammates after they did everything they could in the chase. Other teams had played a more tactical game and so the local riders managed to stay away and triumph in the biggest race of their season.

"I can't complain. The guys rode out of their skin. Every one of them did the maximum they could do," Bennett said in praise of Peter Sagan and other teammates Felix Großschartner, Christoph Pfingsten,Paweł Poljański and Erik Baška.

"There was nothing more we could do. It's a great compliment that these riders give so much to deliver me to the line. It shows their confidence in me and I'm just sorry I couldn't reward it with a win.

"It was a little out of our control. In the end it was good to test the legs. There's still one stage to go."

Bennett admitted that it was not a matter of six-rider teams but of the strength and determination of the riders in the break, and the lack of commitment and collaboration amongst the sprinters' teams and the teams defending the top five places in the overall classification.

"Normally it's okay, even with six riders, but we let guys from the same team get away, indicating a key factor in the success of the break," he said.

"I couldn't understand why we did that. We were kind of looking at each and the three rolled off the front. It's hard to pull hard after 50km flat out; we just couldn't pull them back. They were super strong. It's a lesson learned."