Bennett becomes first Irish rider since Sean Kelly to lead Tour’s points classification
By Richard Johnson
Last Updated: 02/09/20 6:15pm
Sam Bennett has become the first Irish rider in 31 years to pull on the green jersey at the Tour de France.
Bennett won an intermediate sprint and placed third in the 113 mile (183 km) fifth stage, behind Belgium’s Wout van Aert. Dutchman Cees Bol was second.
The last Irishman to wear the jersey, awarded to the best overall sprinter, was Sean Kelly back in 1989.
Bennett was the virtual green jersey holder after just 48 km of stage five after he took the 20 points up for grabs in an intermediate sprint.
His position was confirmed when he finished ahead of sprint rivals Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan.
It could prompt the first real battle for the Tour’s green jersey in several years as Bennett has emerged as a major challenger to Sagan.
The Czech rider has won seven of the last eight green jerseys, usually by blowing away the competition in the early stages.
But Bennett, a former team-mate of Sagan’s at Bora-Hansgrohe, has arrived at the tour with fresh resolve with his new team Deceuninck-Quick-Step.
The Carrick-on-Suir native, ironically also home to Sean Kelly, is still eyeing his first stage victory at this year’s race after narrowly missing out twice.
France’s Julian Alaphilippe retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey after staying safely tucked in the peloton.