Tour of Turkey: Historic hat-trick for Bennett

Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish may have won more stages in an individual edition of the Tour of Turkey but it was Sam Bennett making history in Marmaris by completing his three-peat of wins.

The Irishman on Bora-hansgrohe rider broke through for his first WorldTour win at Paris-Nice in March and has since gone on to enjoy his best season to date with four wins at the top level and nine for the year. On the eve of the Tour of Turkey, Bennett won the Sparkassen Munsterland Giro and is four wins from his last four race days.

While Bennett explained he was ambitious for the end of the season races, he didn't think such a run was possible.

"I'm delighted, After the first stage I was wondering, can I get another? After the second, I was like, 2 in a row, I'll be lucky to get another one, and here I am," said Bennett. "I couldn't have dreamed of this. I'm absolutely delighted. Since Cyclassics Hamburg (20 August)) for some reason I set this race as a target. I wanted good results here. I was supposed to end my season at Münsterland, but I said to my team, Can I do Turkey? I'm normally motivated and good in the late season, I wanted to get some results. and we're actually doing it. The way the guys are riding, it 's amazing, 110% in the heat."

The 26-year-old was quick to add that his success wasn't possible without his teammates who have also helped him control his cool in the finale when Bennett wanted to launch earlier.

"They're doing a great job, trying to control it. They've been getting some help from other teams but the guys have been working hard since day 1. It's been a long season for them too, so I want to thank the team and staff," he said. "The guys were so confident. I was shouting at them 'Go, go, go,' but they didn't listen to me. They kept their cool and delivered me perfectly. At one point I dive bombed one of my team mates which nearly ruined it all. Shane Archbold should have been there, so there would have been 4 of us. It was entirely my fault. Maybe we shouldn't be too greedy, but we'll try and do it again."

Although the Tour of Turkey field is lacking the likes of a Cavendish, Greipel or Marcel Kittel who have all won at least three stages of the race on previous occasions, Bennett explained the race is an important confidence boost. With his best season coinciding with his debut season in the WorldTour, Bennett added he sees further improvement in the years to come.

"I think it's definitely a stepping stone. I'm delighted. If the race was longer and harder, Theuns could definitely beat me. I do think it's a good learning process and it's a stepping stone to bigger races where there are bigger sprinters. Sometimes I find it easier when there are a lot of big sprinters: it's more chaotic and you can get through. It's important to do this. It's important to learn how to win. You need to be stronger, but the strength is coming with age and seasons in the tank."

While he is enjoying his time in the limelight, Bennett explained that Peter Sagan remains the top rider on Bora-hansgrohe and he is also motivated to continue helping the world champion achieve victories.

"But I think also for my place in the team, I'll always be behind Peter Sagan, I know that, but I'm hoping that I'm a solid second place, I get the support, and now, going into the off season, this puts it in the minds of the directeurs sportifs of the team, when they put together the race plan for 2018. I'd love to be able to deliver Peter and help him win big races, but I hope I get a lot of opportunties again as I did this year. It was a really good mix this year and I hope it carries on."

With stage 4 unlikely suited to a bunch sprint, Bennett will soak in the experience of wearing the leader's jersey again and return the favour for his teammates.  

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