Sam Bennett is looking forward to a more 'relaxed' Giro d'Italia after his got his maiden Grand Tour stage win on Thursday.

The 27-year-old Tipperary cyclist out-sprinted some of the best in the world to take the line on stage seven into Praia A Mare after 158km.

This came after two thirds in the first week of this year's edition and a string of seconds and thirds in last year's race.

He had been duelling with home favourite Elia Viviani, who won two stages and wore the points classification leader's purple jersey, since the Giro started in Israel last week and he finally got the better of him, pipping him on the line following a fiercely contested bunch sprint.

Bennett says he was delighted to finally win a stage in one of cycling's big three - the Giro, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana - and is now looking forward to two more relaxing weeks.

"The first few stages I just got the timing a bit wrong. I had the power, I knew what I was capable of, but it’s one thing having the belief and another thing doing it," said the Carrick-on-Suir man.

"Anything else now is a bonus. Obviously, I really want to win again, but it’s going to be more relaxing because today I felt a lot of pressure.

"There’s less opportunities after this stage and there are so many tough stages to come. I’m just so much more relaxed."

Bennett on the podium after his win

There are still 14 more gruelling stages left in the tour of Italy, and few of them are suited to a sprinter like Bora-Hansgrohe man Bennett.

In fact, many of them are packed with mountainous climbs and it will be a struggle for some of the fast man to make it as far as Rome on 27 May.

Earlier in the Giro Bennett had lost his favoured lead-out man Rudi Selig to illness so Bennett had to do much of the work on his own.

He explains that he left it to Viviani's Quickstep Floors team to make the pace on the front and he was careful to stay on the Italian's wheel.

He said: "Today was about patience. At one stage I thought Quickstep had gone too early and they were looking back to check me out and I was wondering were they trying to panic me and get me to go early again. I was glad I kept my cool and it paid off.

"They were really far back and I thought there was no way we’d come back because there was the chicane still to come and I thought for sure it would be one line so even if we did get back, would I still have the power still to go? There were a few close calls, but we made it.

"I could see the same thing with Lotto Jumbo, they went early and Viviani saw the opportunity. It was Viviani’s team mate that took his wheel to try to give him more breathing space and they closed the door there.

"It was really disappointing to lose Rudi, but the guys did a great job today and I could see they had real big belief in me. I want to thank them all for the support, the team that’s working hard behind the scenes and everybody that helped me to get to this point in my career."

This was the first first time an Irish rider has claimed a stage at the Giro in 31 years, since Stephen Roche won a time trial on the way to overall victory in 1987.

Britain's Simon Yeats remains in the leader's pink jersey after he finished safely in the peloton.