The Irishman, Sam Bennett, sprints to final stage victory in the Green (Best Sprinter) Jersey on Champs Elsees in Paris Sunday
By Chuck Gibson (Interview quotes provided by Le Tour de France)
INTERNATIONAL (September 21, 2020) – The 2020 Tour de France finished with as much flare as it provided throughout the 21 stage race to the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Sunday.
Sam Bennett earned the right to wear the Green Jersey as the top sprinter heading into the final stage of the Tour de France on Sunday. Just Saturday, he expressed his excitement over the idea of how amazing it would be to win the sprint to the finish in Paris while wearing the Green Jersey. And then he did it.
“I NEVER THOUGHT I’D WIN HERE WITH THE GREEN JERSEY,” exclaimed Bennett. “I can’t tell you how I feel, standing here as a winner with the green jersey on the Champs-Elysées. This is the world championship of the sprinters. I never thought I’d win this stage, so to win it in the green jersey, it’s fantastic!
In a race that provided amazing highlights, new faces, and an incredible promise for the future of cycling, it was the 21 year old Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (pronounced: Tay-day Puh-gotcha) who shocked the cycling world with his come-from-behind win (making up :57 seconds on the leader) with a stage winning time trial performance on Saturday to take the Yellow Jersey away from his best friend, and to lead his fellow countryman Primoz Roglic by :59 seconds on the last day of the Tour.
“THIS SPORT IS AMAZING,” said Pogacar. “It’s unbelievable. It’s really crazy to be the winner of the Tour de France. Even if I’d come second or further in the ranking, it would still be nice to be here. This is just the top of the top. I can’t describe it with words.”
Riding into Paris on the final day with the Yellow Jersey as winner of the Tour de France allowed the young Slovenian rider time to savor the win with his teammates and other riders on the Tour.
“Today was a very special day with my team-mates,” Pogacar said. “Finally I had some time to talk with them on the bike. The other days, it was just racing full gas. I think every rider from the peloton congratulated me today. This sport is amazing!”
Sam Bennett did not get to rest on the final ride into Paris. He was racing for his second stage win and wearing the Green Jersey while representing Ireland. Still, he too reflected on his teammates and how amazing the race was for him right down to winning at the Champs-Elysess on the final sprint.
“I’m part of a dream team,” Bennett said. “It’s just such an amazing feeling. The suffering in the mountains was worth it. It took me so long to get here, I’m going to enjoy every moment of this victory. It was a really fast and technical finale. I’ve been nervous when we went back to the front. Then the boys destroyed the race, they were first after the tunnel and I thought it was too early. Trek came but we had each side covered. There was a bit of a head wind, we let them go first, then I opened up. Stuyven came to the front for Pedersen. I thought somebody would pass me. I can’t believe I’ve won it.”