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Cycling - Bennett wins stage, leader Roglic unscathed in huge crash

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OVIEDO, Spain (Reuters) – Sam Bennett earned a second stage victory at the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday, winning a reduced sprint after a huge crash in the final kilometre, but the chaos did not prevent the most high-profile faller Primoz Roglic from maintaining his overall lead.

Stage 14, a 188-kilometre largely flat ride from San Vicente de la Barquera to Oviedo, always looked set for a bunch sprint but as the peloton were closed in on the breakaway, the crash took out numerous riders, allowing Irishman Bennett to cash in.

Bennett was well protected by his team when the crash occurred with around 800 metres left but race leader Roglic and nearest challenger Alejandro Valverde were among the dozens who hit the floor.

Both, though, escaped injury and did not lose any time, with the Slovenian retaining his two minute 25 second gap.

Up ahead, it came down to a three-way battle between Bennett, Tosh Van der Sande and Maximiliano Richeze.

Van der Sande attacked on the uphill stretch towards the finish but Richeze reeled him in. Bennett overtook the Argentine runner-up shortly before the line, with the Belgian Van der Sande coming third, two seconds down on the front two.

The Vuelta returns to the mountains for Sunday’s stage 15, a 154.4-kilometre ride from Tineo to Santuario del Acebo which features four first category climbs and a summit finish which will provide a huge test of Roglic’s ambitions.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ian Chadband)

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