Narrow win for Sam Bennett in Vuelta’s 14th stage, Roglic protects lead

Sam Bennet of Ireland celebrates winning the 14th stage of the Spanish Vuelta cycling race on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

OVIEDO, Spain — Irish cyclist Sam Bennett won a sprint finish to claim the flat 14th stage of the Spanish Vuelta, while Primoz Roglic defended his lead of the grand tour on Saturday.

Roglic avoided a crash near the end of the stage as the hard-charging peloton jockeyed for position to set up their sprinters. The pileup happened inside the final kilometres, meaning no riders were penalized for time lost due to the crash.

Bennett, who rides for the BORA-hansgrohe team, surprised the other front-runners with a powerful attack with a few hundred meters left.

It was Bennett’s second win of this Vuelta after also claiming the third stage.

Maximiliano Richeze crossed second two seconds later, in front of Tosh Van der Sande in third.

"I didn’t want to wait too long and took a run at the two of them," Bennett said. "I looked at 300 metres to go and thought it looked too far. I am just delighted."

Roglic maintained his advantage of 2 minutes, 25 seconds over Alejandro Valverde in the overall standings.

Tadej Pogacar was third at 3:01 back, followed by Miguel Angel Lopez at 3:37, and Nairo Quintana at 5:21.

Valverde was involved in the massive crash but was able to slow down before hitting the road.

"I don’t think it will have any consequences. My wrist bothers me a bit, but it’s nothing," Valverde said. "You could see it coming. It was an arrival on a slight uphill, there were breaks in the group, and everyone wanted to be there."

Pogacar also had cuts on his elbow and leg but seemed unfazed.

Luka Mezgec was not as fortunate. He was put on a stretcher and placed in an ambulance to be treated by doctors, said his Michelton-Scott team.

A small breakaway group of four riders was caught by the peloton with over four kilometres remaining of the 188-kilometre (116-mile) ride from San Vicente de la Barquera to Oviedo. Bennett completed the course along Spain’s northern coast in 4 1/2 hours.

On Sunday, the race returns to the mountains as riders face a 155-kilometre (96-mile) stage from Tineo to Santuario del Acebo with four category-one climbs. That will be followed by another demanding mountain ride on Monday.

The three-week race ends in Madrid on Sept. 15.

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