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Sam Bennett: I gave the other guys another lead out

SISTERON FRANCE AUGUST 31 Arrival Sprint Sam Bennett of Ireland and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Caleb Ewan of Australia and Team Lotto Soudal Giacomo Nizzolo of Italy and NTT Pro Cycling Team Hugo Hofstetter of France and Team Israel StartUp Nation Peter Sagan of Slovakia and Team Bora Hansgrohe Matteo Trentin of Italy and CCC Team during the 107th Tour de France 2020 Stage 3 a 198km stage from Nice to Sisteron 488m TDF2020 LeTour on August 31 2020 in Sisteron France Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images
Sam Bennett battles Caleb Ewan to the finish on stage 3 of the Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) once again rued his generosity as he had to settle for second on the headwind sprint into Sisteron on stage 3 of the Tour de France

After his rhythm was disrupted by letting another rider onto his lead-out man's wheel on stage 1, the Irish champion made a stronger bid for victory on Monday, but was eclipsed at the line by Lotto Soudal's Caleb Ewan

A stiff headwind was blowing down the finishing straight, making it dangerous to hit the front too early. Seven-time green jersey winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) certainly made that mistake, and while Bennett waited a little longer and struck out with a clear lead, he was ultimately overhauled by the low-profile Ewan, who stunningly weaved his way through his sprint rivals from further back. 

"It's always guys who are looking for my wheel and can't go first, so I just gave the guys another lead out," a despondent Bennett told reporters in Sisteron.

"It was just a headwind and it was easy for someone to come off the wheel, so yeah," lamented Bennett. 

Asked if there was anything he could or should have done differently, he replied: "No, no. I think it was just a matter of luck."

After a disappointing opening-day sprint, Bennett had hoped to make it a dream couple of days for Deceuninck-QuickStep, with Julian Alaphilippe in the yellow jersey after winning on stage 2. The Belgian team controlled the peloton from start to finish, before a chaotic lead out saw Team Sunweb and Bora-Hansgrohe launch the sprint. 

"The guys provided a great lead out, but the headwind was really strong and made it easy from somebody in the back to come off the wheels," Bennett later said on the Deceuninck-QuickStep team website. 

"I didn’t have the best legs, but I wouldn’t change anything. I think it’s a matter of luck and hope that I’ll have some reasons to smile soon."

Bennett later congratulated Ewan on social media, writing: "Close but no cigar, great sprint by Caleb Ewan. Congrats buddy."

Bennett will have to wait for his next opportunity to take a first Tour de France stage win, as the race heads for the mountains. Stage 7 could well end in a bunch sprint, but stage 10 is the next clear-cut opportunity. 

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