Team Sky’s Sir Bradley Wiggins retained the overall lead at the Tour of Britain as AN Post Chain Reaction rider Sam Bennett won stage five in Caerphilly.
Bennett sprinted to victory from a reduced bunch after a double decent of Caerphilly Mountain as Wiggins kept his 37 second lead over teammate Ian Stannard.
Stage winner Bennett said: "It was a real hard fight coming into the finish but I knew if I hung on up the climb that I would recuperate quick enough for the sprint and I just hung in.
“It was a bit of a gamble going into the last corner - I went a bit wide - but I had enough acceleration to take the win."
Wiggins’ general classification rivals Nairo Quinatana (Movistar) and Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) both attacked on Caerphilly Mountain but strenuous work from Team Sky and in particular Ian Stannard ensured Wiggins’ lead was never in real danger.
Colombian Quintana rode away on the first of the two ascensions before Martin bridged the gap to join him and then attempted to power away with less than five-kilometres remaining.
But a peloton that had been vastly reduced reined the Irishman in and it was then left for Bennett, who finished second on stage two, to sprint to victory.
“I knew this stage. I rode it last week so I knew it was going to be the queen stage of the race."
Sir Bradley Wiggins
“I knew this stage. I rode it last week so I knew it was going to be the queen stage of the race," said Wiggins, who has three more stages left in which to defend his lead.
"The boys again – I keep saying it but I’m nothing without that team. They rode once again all day, controlled the race. Then in the final I used Ian and David Lopez as long as possible, right to the last kilometre. They left me with nothing to do other than sit there really.
“I don’t have the acceleration of those guys Dan (Martin) and (Nairo) Quintana have but I just time trial. I know how to pace my effort and it works. I won the Tour de France like that.”
“It’s been a long road but I’ve worked hard for a good 20 weeks to get into this condition. I said at the start of the week that this is what it’s been all about.”
Pete Williams (IG Sigma Sport), Jacob Rathe (Garmin-Sharp), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole) and Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Movistar) spent the majority of the stage in front, their lead stretching as far three and a half minutes ahead of the bunch.
Madrazo made his position as leader of the King of the Mountains classification almost unassailable by crossing the summit of the first two climbs, Cwm Owen and Brecon Beacons, first and also ended the day on top of the sprint classification.
But before the double climb in Caerphilly, the break was caught. First Williams was dropped from the four before the peloton consumed the remaining three escapees.
It was then left to Quintana and Martin to see their attacks scuppered in the final kilometres before the 22-year-old Bennett pounced.
1. Sam Bennett AN Post Chain Reaction 4h 35' 29''
2. Michal Golas Omega Pharma Quick-Step st
3. Martin Elmiger IAM Cycling st