Ireland's Sam Bennett, centre, won stage two of the 2018 Tour of Turkey today, taking the overall lead in the process ©Getty Images

Irish rider Sam Bennett - who competes for Bora-Hansgrohe - has taken the overall lead in the International Cycling Union (UCI) Tour of Turkey after winning stage two in Antalya today.

The 27-year-old, who won four stages of the World Tour event last year, finished the 149.6 kilometre course in front of Colombian Alvaro Hodeg from QuickStep Floors and Italian Simone Consonni from UAE Team Emirates.

He won the bunch sprint at the end of the race to cross the line in a time of 3 hours, 24min and 33sec.

The overnight leader, Argentina's Mazimiliano Richeze, finished 34th in today's stage, meaning he now sits behind Bennett in the overall standings by six seconds.

Third overall is Jempy Drucker from Luxembourg, who competes for BMC Racing.

Richeze played the role of lead-out man in today's stage, hoping to set up his team-mate Hodeg for a sprint finish win.

In winning the stage Sam Bennett took the overall lead in the Tour ©Tour of Turkey/Twitter
In winning the stage Sam Bennett took the overall lead in the Tour ©Tour of Turkey/Twitter

Richeze's team-mate started the push for the line, but was unable to hold off Bennett, who in winning the stage picked up his first World Tour leg since the Giro d'Italia in May.

Several of the pre-race favourites, including Germany's John Degenkolb, found themselves caught up in the peloton and unable to break out.

"I'm happy," Bennett said afterwards.

"It's a bit of a relief.

"I came here after a quiet mid-season.

"I won't say I can relax now but some of the pressure has gone."

The third stage will take place tomorrow from Fethiye to Marmaris on the coast.