After a rainy day Sam Bennett had the biggest smile at the finish of the first stage in Hulst. Bennett celebrated a special win: ?It?s my first win in the Irish champion's jersey."

Bora-Hansgrohe rider Bennett has had to wait a month and a half to celebrate his first success in his Irish jersey but he finally made it happen in the opening stage of the BinckBank Tour. "I am really happy," he said after the finish. "I wanted to take that first win in my champion's jersey as quickly as possible and now it happened."  


Bennett, who was born in the Belgian town of Wervik, took the win in style. In the bunch sprint he was well positioned and he then bombed past Edward Theuns and Mike Teunissen in the final 100 metres. "The legs were still hurting a bit from yesterday's European Championships but I was kept in front the whole time by my team-mates. It was a dangerous sprint, but in the final two kilometres I managed to use the sprint trains from the other teams. The rain made the stage a lot more nervous, but I'm not complaining now!"