Thrills and controversy as Sam Bennett is denied another Tour stage win in photo finish

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Bennett initially finished third but was promoted to second place after Green Jersey rival Peter Sagan was relegated for shoving another rider in the sprint finish.

SAM BENNETT WAS narrowly denied a second-straight stage win in the Tour de France in a thrilling photo finish this afternoon. 

Bennett would have become the first Irish rider ever to win back-to-back finish, but ultimately finished third in a sprint finish to today’s 11th stage, behind winner Caleb Ewan and second-placed Peter Sagan. 

Sagan, however, was subsequently penalised for a shove on Wout van Aert in the sprint finish and relegated to last place in the peloton. This promotes Bennett to second place in Stage 11, and extends his lead over Sagan in the Green Jersey standings to 67 points. 

Bennett is ranked 139th in the overall standings, which is led by Primoz Roglic.

Ewan won three stages in 2019 and now says he will go for a third on this Tour too by crossing the Alps to try his luck on the iconic Tour de France climax on the cobbles of the Champs Elysees.

“Once you get one you want two, and now I have two I want a third on the Champs Elysees in Paris,” said the diminutive sprinter who also won stage three at Sisteron.

Ewan is a wily sprinter, known for cool-headed analysis in the heat of the action, and he now has five Tour wins in total.

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“I was really close to the front, I was more forward than I wanted to be, but I dropped back into the bunch to watch,” the 26-year-old said.

“I just kept calm and waited for the right gap to open. I didn’t know if I’d won because I threw the bike and was looking down.

“But sometimes you can just feel it,” he added.

His win is doubly impressive as his team have already lost three riders.

“We no longer have the men to protect me, but I don’t mind, they got me there,” said the affable and popular rider.

The finish line at the Tour de France is equipped by cameras in either corner that can take thousands of images per second, as with motor cycling’s Grand Prix while each bike is equipped with a micro-chip, delivering instant results.

© – AFP, 2020, with reporting by Gavin Cooney

A still image of the dramatic finish at today's 11th stage of the Tour de France, with Sam Bennett second from left, wearing green.

A still image of the dramatic finish at today’s 11th stage of the Tour de France, with Sam Bennett second from left, wearing green.

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