• Sam Bennett achieves his goal of finishing ahead of Peter Sagan on Stage 19 of the Tour de France (Getty)Source: Getty
Just two stages stand between Sam Bennett and Tour de France history as the first Irish winner of the green jersey since four-time winner Sean Kelly last wore it in Paris in 1989.
SBS Cycling Central

19 Sep 2020 - 4:51 AM  UPDATED 19 Sep 2020 - 5:52 AM

Kragh Andersen outwits world's best to seize second Tour victory
Søren Kragh Andersen screamed at a moto one kilometre from the Champagnole finish asking for a time gap confirmation, in disbelief he held a minute over the world's best riders for a second solo victory at this year's Tour de France.

A stage win was Bennett's major goal coming into the 2020 Tour de France, the only achievement missing from his otherwise full set of grand tour stage wins.

He crossed that off his to-do list with victory on Stage 10. Reclaiming the green jersey with that achievement, he dared to dream.

His hopes of wearing green all the way to Paris were buoyed by Peter Sagan's relegation on Stage 11 and conquering the arduous Alpine stages. 

But the hard work of the Irishman and his Deceuninck–Quick-Step team mates on Stage 19 extended his lead in the green jersey over seven-time winner Sagan to 55 points, the time trial and quite possibly just the intermediate sprint on the final stage standing in his way of the podium in France’s capital. 

"I just want to thank the team again for the job they did today," Bennett said. "It was a really hard day."

"I just left everything out there on the road."

Bennett stuck to Sagan's wheel as the opening kilometres exploded with multiple attacks. At the intermediate sprint, Michael Mørkøv once more piloted Bennett to perfection, Sagan finishing behind the green jersey. 

Immediately after the sprint, Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck - QuickStep) took to the front and unhooked, drawing Sagan, Matteo Trentin (CCC), Mørkøv and Bennett, the peloton soon clipping their wings.

With that job done, all that was left was to follow Sagan when he went with the stellar break 25 kilometres from the finish, Dries Devenyns helping him on that occasion, and then finish ahead of the Slovakian across the line, extending his lead by another point. 

Achievement unlocked.  

"I had to throw away the stage," Bennett said. "I just had to focus on keeping as much points possible for the points jersey. I couldn't take the risk.

"I have to finish tomorrow in the time limit, I think if my calculations are correct I just have to finish in front of him at the intermediate and then I should be safe.

"I think!"

The 2020 Tour de France continues with Stage 20's 36.2km individual time trial from Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles, a race against time for Australian Richie Porte to find 99 seconds and the third step on the Paris podium. Watch on SBS HD and SBS On Demand from 8:30pm AEST and the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker from 8:50pm AEST.