Sam Bennett completes a hat-tr...


Sam Bennett completes a hat-trick at the BinckBank Tour

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Sam Bennett has won a third consecutive stage of the Binck Bank Tour in Belgium. 

The Bora-Hansgrohe sprinter pipped Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma) to the line in a photo-finish into the Eastern Flanders town of Aalter.

Initially, it looked as though the stage would be decided by Groenewegen and Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates), but a late burst from Bennett saw him claim the stage by a matter of inches.

It means Bennett has won each of the first three stages of this year's tour, and becomes the first ever rider to do so. After saying yesterday he was greedy for another stage win, Bennett says today would have been an ideal chance for him to complete his hat-trick, "I heard this morning that if I did, that I would be. It's fantastic - I'm glad to be doing my country proud in my national champions' kit."

Bennett says today's stage victory came through adversity in the final stages, "I think somebody touched my bike in the last corner and they broke it a little.

"The gears were jumping like mad, so I couldn't through the bike around I was just trying to keep myself solid.

"The gears were just skipping, so I couldn't get the power down. I got a run at [Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates)], and if it wasn't for that I don't think I would have got it [the stage win].

"I was really lucky today. I tried to make the bike as long as possible in the final, but that was enough to get it today so I'm really happy with that."

The seeds of Bennett's victory were sewn around 60km from the finish when he'd positioned himself near the front of the peloton, which he says was a tactic to "stay safe", and he feels was also an energy-saving tactic.

The BinckBank Tour enters the Belgian Ardennes tomorrow for a 96.2km hilly stage.

Bennett will begin stage 4 with a 20-second lead over both Groenewegen and Philipsen.

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BinckBank Tour Bora-Hansgrohe Cycling Sam Bennett Vuelta A Espana

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