AN IRISH cyclist has been awarded the green jersey at the Tour de France for the first time since in 31 years.
Sam Bennett, who rides for Deceuninck-Quick-Step, had a third-place finish in Wednesday's fifth stage, and has become the first Irishman to don a jersey of any classification since Sean Kelly wore green into Paris in 1989.
While Bennett was born in Belgium, like Kelly, he grew up in Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary.
The green jersey is awarded to the fastest sprinter of the each stage of the race.
Coloured jerseys are handed out to riders for leading different classifications, and the recipient earns the right to wear it during the following day's racing.
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) September 2, 2020
The famous yellow jersey is given to the overall leader of the race, or the rider who has completed the stage in the fastest time. It's the most coveted item of clothing in professional cycling.
The polka-dot jersey is given to the 'King of the Mountains', while the white jersey is given to the best young rider.
At the end of the fifth stage, Bennett moved clear of former three-time world champion Peter Sagan in the points classification.
🎙️ 🇮🇪 @Sammmy_Be
The man from the Emerald Isle is in green☘️
"C'est spécial pour moi d'être le troisième irlandais à porter le maillot vert. Je vais tout faire pour le garder."#TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/JRGVdiq7XW
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) September 2, 2020
Sagan has dominated the green jersey with seven victories in the the points race since 2012, but some inspired tactical riding by Bennett and his Quickstep team saw the 29-year-old overhaul the Slovakian, who was fourth at the finish line.
Britain's Adam Yates took the leader's yellow jersey as overnight leader Julian Alaphilippe was penalised for taking on provisions in the final 20km.