Tour de France: Bennati rolls back the clock in Salon-de-Provence

Movistar veteran fourth on stage 19

Daniele Bennati (Movistar) hasn't won a stage of the Tour de France since 2007 but that didn't stop the Italian veteran from dreaming of success in Salon-de-Provence. The 36-year-old eventually finished fourth from the day long stage 19  breakaway having rolled the dice inside the closing kilometres.

"The first victory of the day was simply getting into the early break, because it was difficult in itself, and then beating the rest of the field was the other one," said Bennati. "There were so many talented riders, and in such a finish, it's sort of a lottery to snatch the right move and win.

An 11-time Grand Tour stage winner, plus two team time trial victories, Bennati explained that the roundabout with three kilometres to go decided the stage outcome with only Nikias Arndt and Edvald Boasson Hagen taking the short left-hand side option.

"I tried to escape after the penultimate roundabout, but wasn't able to open a gap, and then at the final one I took the left side, whereas the right-hand one was the shortest," he said. "Boasson Hagen had a 20, 30-meter advantage at the exit and it was impossible for me to bridge back."

With GC leader Nairo Quintana paying for his Giro d'Italia efforts at the Tour and Movistar losing Alejandro Valverde to a stage 1 race ending crash, Bennati explained he was desperate to claim a win and salvage the race for Movistar.

"I'm annoyed, and it's normal. I wanted so hard to dedicate a victory to the whole team, after all bad luck we've gone through in this Tour; also to Alejandro Valverde, whom I wish all the best with his recovery; and my son Francesco, who celebrated his birthday on Thursday," he said. "After Alejandro's crash we tried to carry on and seek for the GC win with Nairo, yet he couldn't recover well for the Tour after the efforts in the Giro. Refocusing our goals afterwards and go for stage wins when you see your top contender hasn't got everything he'd like to is always hard.

Along with Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Bennati is the only rider left in the peloton with winning experience on the Champs-Élysées and ten year's on from his last Tour win, will be hoping to end the race on a high for himself and the team come Sunday evening. 

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