Bennett Wins Rund um Köln 2014
Sam Bennett clenched his second victory of the season when he won this year's Rund um Köln in a close sprint across the finish line. The 23-year-old Irish sprinter finished ahead of Barry Markus (Belkin-Linksys) and German local hero Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) in the 98th edition of Rund um Köln in Germany.
Bennett, a neo-pro who has been riding for Team NetApp – Endura since the start of the season, can already look back on two wins and six top-ten finishes this season so far.
"It was a crazy race. Hard terrain with wet conditions made a few crashes and splits," Bennett explained to RoadCycling.com after being celebrated on the podium.
"We worked well together all day. The guys did a fantastic job again setting me up for the sprint. On the last corner Belkin-Linksys and Ciolek got in front of me, but I was happy because I didn't want to jump first. It was a block headwind. The guys jumped at 200 meters and I waited until 100 meters, I was coming fast but I nearly left it too late.
"On the line I didn’t know if I’d finished first or second,” second place finisher Markus explained. "I could not really tell. A photo finish confirmed that I was second. In itself I’m happy with that because it was a tough race with a lot of climbs. This is a nice result for me."
“Theo Bos had abandoned after a crash,” Markus added. “In the last thirty kilometers, Moreno and I talked and decided to play my card.”
"It was an offensive, fast race that was ridden at top speeds from the very start. Our team was always in the picture and up at the front. Our guys implemented our strategy perfectly," Team NetApp-Endura Sport Director André Schulze commented.
"We helped to control the finale to prepare a sprint for Bennett. Andreas, Michael and Ralf kept up the pace and got Sam into perfect position. Even though it was close, all that matters is that we won. A photo finish win is always something special for a sprinter."