Bennett wins another stage as Affini takes the lead in Vuelta a España

BREDA, Netherlands — Sam Bennett went two years without a stage win in a Grand Tour race. Now he has won two in a row.

The Bora-Hansgrohe rider won in another sprint finish in Stage 3 of the Spanish Vuelta, with Edoardo Affini taking the leader’s red jersey to keep his Jumbo-Visma team in position to help Primoz Roglic to defend his title.

Affini is the third consecutive rider from the Dutch team to take the lead in the general classification when the Vuelta starts in the Netherlands.

“It all started with winning the time trial and it’s amazing to be able to share those moments in our team’s country,” Affini said. “I guess it was even more special for our Dutch guys, but it’s also for me. To be the leader of an overall classification here is really an incredible feeling. It’s crazy to be able to be the leader.

The first six riders in the general classification come from Jumbo-Visma. Sam Oomen was behind Affini, with Roglic close behind.

It was the last leg before the Vuelta returned to Spain after starting in the Netherlands.

Michael Woods, two-time Vuelta stage winner and one of the title contenders this year, had to abandon the race after a crash. Richard Carapaz also crashed but was able to continue.

Bennett had not won a Grand Tour stage since the 2020 Vuelta before ending his winless streak in Utrecht.

“It’s quite nice to make it happen two days in a row,” said Bennett, who now has 10 Grand Tour stage wins, including five at the Vuelta.

After a 193 kilometer (120 mile) loop around Breda, Bennett dominated the final meters to claim victory ahead of Mads Pedersen and Dan McLay. Pedersen also came second.

“It was pretty tough because I think a lot of people were fighting over our wheel,” Bennett said. “People started coming inside and rushing me. It was a pretty tough fight. A big thank you for the boys, they worked all day, took care of me during the whole scene.

Roglic, bidding for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Vuelta title, finished comfortably in the pack to stay close to the front. Robert Gesink and Mike Teunissen also wore the red jersey of the Jumbo-Visma team.

The runners will benefit from their first day of rest before the race resumes in the Basque Country, in northern Spain.

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