Sam Bennett (second from left) at the team presentation before the start of Paris - Nice
The opening stage of the 77th edition of Paris – Nice wasn’t an easy one and strong winds took their toll on Carrick on Suir cyclist Sam Bennett in the sprint for the finish line.
The peloton had to face strong winds and temperatures of around 12 degrees. Right from after the start, three riders escaped, and opened up a gap of several minutes, while BORA – hansgrohe stayed in the main field to support their sprinter Sam Bennett.
With 50km remaining, the breakaway had managed to carve out a gap of over one minute, but BORA – hansgrohe took control of the pace back in the peloton and tried to close the gap.
As the race spilt into several groups with 38km remaining, BORA – hansgrohe was able to stay in the first few positions, where Jempy Drucker, Michael Schwarzmann, Sam Bennett and Felix Großschartner all put in a strong effort, while some of the GC contenders were caught up in one of the groups behind.
As the race came into the finale, the first group managed to bridge the gap to the leaders. The German squad began forming their lead-out for Irish sprinter Sam Bennett, and on the finishing straight the pace was incredibly high, with riders battling it out for position. Although BORA – hansgrohe’s Bennett was in a good position, it was Dylan Groenewegen, who took the win ahead of Caleb Ewan, while Bennett finished in fourth position.
“Today I didn't ride my best race, and I was always playing catch up on this short but windy stage with all those echelons, which did cost a lot of energy. In the finale, I didn't have the legs, but I think it was just a bad day. I expect my legs to come around for the next stages. The boys did their best to deliver me to the finish and I hope to repay their efforts soon.” –Sam Bennett
01 D. Groenewegen 3:17:35
02 C. Ewan +0:00
03 F. Jakobsen +0:00
04 S. Bennett +0:00