Sam Bennett finished off a perfect lead-out from Deceuninck–Quick-Step team mate Michael Mørkøv to grab a dream maiden stage victory at the Tour de France, the significance of the milestone reducing him to tears.
SBS Cycling Central

9 Sep 2020 - 2:05 AM  UPDATED 9 Sep 2020 - 2:30 AM

It's time for the 21st and final Stage of the 2021 Tour de France - LIVE, FREE and EXCLUSIVE on SBS and via SBS On Demand from 11pm (AEST) on Sunday July 18, or watch on the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker from 12:05am (AEST).
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Bennett broke down in the post-Stage 10 interview, the release of waiting far too long for the moment impossible for the Irishman to control. 

Like Caleb Ewan at last year's 2019 Tour de France, Bennett grabbed a stage win after missing out on starring at the pinnacle of their sport for several years on their former teams. While Ewan's came on debut, Bennett's came after a three-year absence as BORA-hansgrohe went all in for star Peter Sagan. 

Again like Ewan, Bennett's victory came after a rest day but today, Ewan had to settle for second, with Peter Sagan crossing closely behind in third. 

Through tears Bennet said "I just want to thank everyone involved. I just want to thank the whole team and (team boss) Patrick Lefevere for giving me this opportunity and just everybody it took to get to here."

"I want to thank my wife and everyone around know you dream of it, you never think it will happen and it does and it did I don't know it took a while for it to hit me. 

"I'm sorry I don't mean to be a cry-baby."

Bennett thought he held on too long and that Ewan might've crossed the line first. 

"I don't think it's hit me because I forgot to throw the bike at the line in the moment and I thought he might have got me. It hasn't hit me. I thought I'd be in floods of tears but I'm just kind of in shock."

Bennett now has the full set of grand tour victories with stage wins at the Giro (three in 2018) and the Vuelta a España (two - 2019). 

To make the victory sweeter, Bennett moves back into the green jersey and leads Sagan by 21 points. 

Deceuninck–Quick-Step had the perfect day, swallowing up the early break of two Swiss riders Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) and Michael Schär (CCC) 100kms from the finish as they sniffed a chance to split the race on the more exposed roads just away from the coastline. 

Splits did soon form under the Deceuninck–Quick-Step workload and then increased after a crash in the front group brought down Mitchelton-Scott's Sam Bewley who was forced to abandon his first Tour de France. 

A gradual easing by the 90th kilometre saw the peloton reunite with the front bunch after the crash. 

A second crash on a tight roundabout with 64kms to go, caught up yellow jersey hopefuls Tadej Pogačar (UAE Emirates) and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) but they both made contact again seven kilometres later. 

At the intermediate sprint at 132kms, Matteo Trentin took the 20 maximum points, with Peter Sagan (BORA-Hansgrohe) edging out Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step) by two points for the next best 17. At this point, Sagan moved to 155 points, just nine points clear of the Irishman. 

With 18kms to go, the crosswinds hit again with INEOS and Jumbo-Visma forcing a split that further increased after a crash brought down Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) but they and the race reunited on the bridge to Île de Ré. 

The Tour de France continues with Stage 11, a 167km stage from Châtelaillon-Plage to Poitiers that should once again end in a bunch sprint. Watch the action LIVE on SBS with the race starting on the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker at 9:15pm AEST and the broadcast beginning at 9:30pm AEST on SBS.