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Bennett third as team wrap up Profronde van Noord Holland

Posted 22 April 2012

By Cillian Kelly,
 
The An Post-Sean Kelly team put in an utterly dominant display at the Profronde van Noord Holland as Gediminas Bagdonas won the race and was joined on the podium by Irishman Sam Bennett.   
 
The veteran Niko Eeckhout was also in the action at the finish as he took fifth place in this tough 205km race.
 
The third place finish for Bennett is his best result of the season and proves that he is over the illness-related problems which hampered
the early part of his season.
 
In severely windy conditions, the race winning move came as early as the 24th kilometre. A group of 22 riders, which included four An Post-Sean Kelly riders broke clear and were never seen again by the peloton.
 
The constant winds caused the large leading group to constantly split and regroup but with 80km to go, both Niko Eeckhout and his An Post-Sean Kelly team-mate Joren Segers attacked and began to establish a slight lead.
 
Although the pair were caught with more than 30 kilomtres to the finish in Zaandam, this provided the perfect launch pad for Bagdonas to counter-attack. He attacked so strongly that nobody was capable of following him. Just 15 kilometres later, Bagdonas had a lead of more than two minutes and looked certain of victory.
 
As the Lithuanian had time to situp and savour his victory the riders were preparing themselves for the sprint behind. Bennett showed that he is capable of challenging the fast men by finishing second in the ensuing gallop just behind Jeff Vermeulen (Metec Continental) in a photo finish.
 
Eeckhout finished just behind in fifth place, and his breakaway companion from earlier in the day, Joren Segers, crossed the line in
12th.
 
It is a day to savour for the An Post-Sean Kelly team as they chalked up their fourth win of the season. Many of the team are approaching top form and will provide a selection headache for team manager Kurt Bogaerts as the team's big goals of the season approach, the Tour of the Belgium, and most importantly, the An Post Rás.
 
Results:
 
Profronde van Noord-Holland
 
1. Gediminas Bagdonas (An Post-Sean Kelly) 4:56:00
2. Jeff Vermeulen (Metec Continental) at 39 seconds
3. Sam Bennett (An Post-Sean Kelly) s.t.
4. Reinert Janse Van Rensburg (MTN Qhubeka) s.t.
5. Niko Eeckhout (An Post-Sean Kelly) s.t.
6. Bart van Haaren (Koga Cycling) s.t
7. Wesley Kreder (Rabobank Continental) s.t
8. Elmar Reinders (Metec Continental) s.t
9. Dex Groen (Metec Continental) s.t
10. Jasper Bovenhuis (Rabobank Continental) at 12 minutes 31 seconds
 
12. Joren Segers (An Post-Sean Kelly) at 14 minutes 16 seconds
 

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