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Bradley Wiggins tries to claim Sam Bennett as British

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett will likely see the funny side of Bradley Wiggins’ outrageous claim that Britain can almost claim the Irish cyclist as one of their own.

Tipperary’s Sam Bennett was brought to tears of celebration after regaining the green jersey with his first stage win at the Tour de France on Tuesday.

Bennett almost couldn’t believe his triumph after holding off the challenges of and Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan to clinch stage 10.

The 29-year-old became just the sixth Irishman to win a stage at the Tour de France and joins fellow Carrick-on-Suir man, Sean Kelly, in the exclusive club.

Kelly celebrated Bennett’s achievement on Eurosport programme The Breakaway, where he was joined by Bradley Wiggins.

Wiggins tried to get a rise out of Kelly by suggesting that Bennett could almost be considered British.

Wiggins said: “It’s phenomenal and he’s got so much more to go in his career. He’s still relatively young in cycling terms.

“He’s a young sprinter really and we can almost consider him British. I know you lot won’t like that, will you?”

Kelly, who has trained with Bennett, shot straight back at Wiggins and said “you’re not going claim him.”

Sam Bennett

Wiggins then returned with a little dig at Kelly by saying “at least we can understand what he’s saying. We can’t really understand what you’re saying Sean, can we?”

While it was all goodnatured ribbing, Kelly made sure to highlight the significance of Bennett’s feat 31 years since Kelly won the green jersey.

“I knew Sam from a young age when he was back in Ireland,” Kelly said. “I remember he had a bad crash and I went to see him in hospital so there’s a lot of history there between myself and Sam.

“He was in my team, the development team, and we took him along for several years to set him on the road for getting in a bigger team.”

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