Tour de France points classification victor Sam Bennett admits he wasn't sure whether he had the ability to beat sprinting kingpin Peter Sagan in the battle for the green jersey. 

On Sunday, Bennett became the first Irish rider to claim the green jersey for 31 years, emulating the achievement of his fellow Carrick-on-Suir native Sean Kelly, who won the points classification title on four occasions during the 1980s. 

And he sealed the title in some style, claiming his second stage win in the race finale on the Champs-Elysées.  He pushed the Slovak rider Sagan, the winner of seven green jerseys in the past eight years, into the runners up spot. 

Speaking on Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1 on his way back to his home in Monaco, Bennett admitted he had different expectations before the race. 

"I'm still on a high. The Champs-Elysées is like the world championships for sprinters. It's a race that I've watched over and over again as a kid. It was a really exciting feeling, I can't describe it. In the last 10 metres, I knew I had it. It's a very special moment in my career and I'll never forget it. 

"I went in with different expectations. And a lot changed in the race. It was a really tough battle, a battle I didn't think I'd be able to fight with Peter Sagan, the three-time world champion."

While the emotion flowed at home and online, the celebrations in Paris were somewhat restrained, as was necessitated by the pandemic. 

"Well you can't (celebrate wildly). We had a few drinks at the team bus where we had our bubble for the whole tour. But that was all we could do.   

"What I've found in the last few tours is that it takes a week to hit the body. You're still on a high and your body gets into a rhythm. So, you almost have to de-train off it and keep riding the bike for a few days before you take a while off."

Bennett's mother Helen, who was back in Carrick-on-Suir, also took a call on the programme and insisted that she always believed that Sam had the capability to attain this prize. 

She said: "It's surreal, we're still in a dream world here and trying to comprehend what Sam has just done. We're super proud. 

"My nerves are shattered. It was the most difficult Tour de France. That's what we keep hearing from everybody on the mountains. And what Sam was doing was just phenomenal and we were in awe of him. 

"I always did, I knew he had it. He's a strong silent type. He just won every race he was in, practically as a kid. He had a love for it and you have to have a love for it because it's not easy."

And Helen Bennett admitted that the spotlight had been somewhat stolen by her 89-year-old father Pat Cashin, whose reaction to the closing stages of Sunday's race was captured on camera and has subsequently gone viral.

"I rang him this morning because I said Dad, you're on TV and you're after stealing my thunder. I said you've gone viral and he said "what does that mean?"