Paris-Nice: Bennett sprints to stage 3 victory

Bora-Hansgrohe's Sam Bennett claimed victory on stage 3 of Paris-Nice with a well-timed sprint in Chalon-sur-Saône, beating Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) to notch up the biggest win of his career to date.

Arnaud Démare (FDJ) came home in sixth place to retain the yellow jersey after a stage that played out in a rather more orderly fashion than the two days of windswept carnage that preceded it.

The only real deviation from the anticipated script here came in the finishing straight. When Fabio Sabatini delivered his Quick-Step Floors teammate Marcel Kittel to the front with 250 metres to go, the German appeared in the box seat to claim victory, but he was unable to maintain his advantage and faded to finish fourth on the stage.

Bennett was tucked on Kristoff's wheel as the sprint began, and surged to the front in the final 100 metres to take the win ahead of the Norwegian and the fast-closing John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo). This year's Paris-Nice boasts an exceptionally deep field of sprinters, which only added to the prestige of Bennett's first-ever WorldTour win.

"I'm so happy to get this result, you don't know what it means to me," said Bennett. It was the Irishman's first win of the new season, though he insisted that he had been not lacking in belief ahead of Paris-Nice.

"I had a lot of confidence coming into this just from the feeling in my legs. I had good form recently. In the Tour Down Under, I felt I had the speed but I just didn't get an opportunity. I knew today with the support of the team something was possible. I didn't know if that was going to be a win or a top five, but I thought something was possible. In the end, I got lucky. The guys did a fantastic job, and I want to thank them so much."

The Katusha-Alpecin team was active towards the front in the closing kilometres, but Bennett played down the idea that popping up on Kristoff's wheel in the finishing straight had been a tactical masterplan. "To be honest I was just fighting for position," he said. "It was hard to stay in position, so I didn't really see the front."

Maillot jaune Démare enjoyed a relatively untroubled day in the main peloton, and he maintains a lead of six seconds over Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step) ahead of Wednesday's time trial. Kristoff moves up to third, 13 seconds down, while Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step) lies in fourth, 17 seconds down.

How it unfolded

After being scattered to the four winds over the opening two legs of Paris-Nice, there was a rather more tranquil beginning to proceedings for the peloton on Tuesday. The early break was established quickly, within two kilometres of the start in Chablis, and for most of the day, the peloton was content to allow the three leaders their freedom.

Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale), Ben King (Dimension Data) and Romain Combaud (Delko-Marseille) combined well over the course of the afternoon to build a maximum advantage of seven minutes before Démare's FDJ team came to the front of the peloton and set about cutting their buffer down to size.

With 30 kilometres remaining, the gap stood at 1:30, as Fortuneo-Vital Concept joined FDJ on the front with Dan McLay in mind, and the trio of escapees became a duo on the final climb of the day, the category 2 Côte de Charrecey, as Ben King dropped back.

When Latour and Combaud entered the final 20 kilometres with just 50 seconds in hand, it seemed as though their expedition off the front was drawing to its conclusion, but the French duo battled gamely in the finale and was only swept up beneath the flamme rouge.

Behind, the sprinters' teams, most notably Astana and Katusha-Alpecin, contributed to the chase effort. The run-in to the finish was a technical one, and Dutch champion Dylan Groenewegen's hopes of stage victory were ended by a crash on a roundabout with a little over three kilometres remaining. By that point, Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data) had already abandoned the race after he crashed ahead of the day's final climb.

After Latour and Combaud had been reeled in with a kilometre to go, Quick-Floors took over at the front, but Kittel may feel that he came to the front too early. The German was unable to sustain his effort, and the spoils fell to Bennett, who becomes the second Carrick-on-Suir man to enjoy success in the Race to the Sun after Sean Kelly, who won the event overall on seven successive occasions between 1982 and 1988.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe4:31:14
2Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-AlpecinRow 1 - Cell 2
3John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-SegafredoRow 2 - Cell 2
4Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step FloorsRow 3 - Cell 2
5Michael Matthews (Aus) Team SunwebRow 4 - Cell 2
6Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJRow 5 - Cell 2
7André Greipel (Ger) Lotto SoudalRow 6 - Cell 2
8Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 7 - Cell 2
9Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension DataRow 8 - Cell 2
10Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-ScottRow 9 - Cell 2
11Daniel Mclay (GBr) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 10 - Cell 2
12Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 11 - Cell 2
13Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 12 - Cell 2
14Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJRow 13 - Cell 2
15Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Jan Polanc (Slo) Team UAE EmiratesRow 15 - Cell 2
17Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 16 - Cell 2
18Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 17 - Cell 2
19Sergio Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 18 - Cell 2
20Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-ScottRow 19 - Cell 2
21Youcef Reguigui (Alg) Dimension DataRow 20 - Cell 2
22Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step FloorsRow 21 - Cell 2
23Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 22 - Cell 2
24Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 23 - Cell 2
25Warren Barguil (Fra) Team SunwebRow 24 - Cell 2
26Christian Knees (Ger) Team SkyRow 25 - Cell 2
27Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto SoudalRow 26 - Cell 2
28Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-SegafredoRow 27 - Cell 2
29Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 28 - Cell 2
30Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-ScottRow 29 - Cell 2
31Ben Swift (GBr) Team UAE EmiratesRow 30 - Cell 2
32Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 31 - Cell 2
33Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-DrapacRow 32 - Cell 2
34Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJRow 33 - Cell 2
35Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 34 - Cell 2
36Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJRow 35 - Cell 2
37Antoine Duchesne (Can) Direct EnergieRow 36 - Cell 2
38Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 37 - Cell 2
39Michael Morkov (Den) Katusha-AlpecinRow 38 - Cell 2
40Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-DrapacRow 39 - Cell 2
41Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE EmiratesRow 40 - Cell 2
42Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step FloorsRow 41 - Cell 2
43Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 42 - Cell 2
44Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto SoudalRow 43 - Cell 2
45Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-ScottRow 44 - Cell 2
46Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 45 - Cell 2
47Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-DrapacRow 46 - Cell 2
48Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 47 - Cell 2
49Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 48 - Cell 2
50Cyril Gautier (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 49 - Cell 2
51Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 50 - Cell 2
52Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJRow 51 - Cell 2
53Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 52 - Cell 2
54Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 53 - Cell 2
55Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 55 - Cell 2
57Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 56 - Cell 2
58Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJRow 57 - Cell 2
59Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 58 - Cell 2
60Michal Golas (Pol) Team SkyRow 59 - Cell 2
61Sam Oomen (Ned) Team SunwebRow 60 - Cell 2
62Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-SegafredoRow 61 - Cell 2
63Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-ScottRow 62 - Cell 2
64Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 63 - Cell 2
65Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 64 - Cell 2
66Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 65 - Cell 2
67Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 66 - Cell 2
68Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing TeamRow 67 - Cell 2
69Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 69 - Cell 2
71Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 70 - Cell 2
72Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 71 - Cell 2
73Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 72 - Cell 2
74Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 74 - Cell 2
76Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro TeamRow 75 - Cell 2
77Roy Curvers (Ned) Team SunwebRow 76 - Cell 2
78Simone Petilli (Ita) Team UAE EmiratesRow 77 - Cell 2
79Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-ScottRow 78 - Cell 2
80Federico Zurlo (Ita) Team UAE EmiratesRow 79 - Cell 2
81Adam James Hansen (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 80 - Cell 2
82Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 81 - Cell 2
83Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 82 - Cell 2
84Michal Kolár (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 83 - Cell 2
85Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 84 - Cell 2
86Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 85 - Cell 2
87Jan Bárta (Cze) Bora-HansgroheRow 86 - Cell 2
88Delio Fernandez (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 87 - Cell 2
89Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 88 - Cell 2
90Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Matti Breschel (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 90 - Cell 2
92Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 91 - Cell 2
93Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 93 - Cell 2
95Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 94 - Cell 2
96Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 95 - Cell 2
97Robert Wagner (Ger) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 96 - Cell 2
98Sebastian Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 97 - Cell 2
99Victor De La Parte (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 99 - Cell 2
101Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 100 - Cell 2
102Remy Di Gregorio (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 101 - Cell 2
103Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar TeamRow 102 - Cell 2
104Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team SkyRow 103 - Cell 2
105Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La MondialeRow 104 - Cell 2
106Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 106 - Cell 2
108Manuele Mori (Ita) Team UAE EmiratesRow 107 - Cell 2
109Jack Bauer (NZl) Quick-Step Floors0:00:18
110Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 109 - Cell 2
111Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Sunweb0:00:23
112Quentin Pacher (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:00:26
113Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 112 - Cell 2
114Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 113 - Cell 2
115Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-AlpecinRow 114 - Cell 2
116Amael Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 115 - Cell 2
117Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 116 - Cell 2
118Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 117 - Cell 2
119Borut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 118 - Cell 2
120Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:00:28
121Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-DrapacRow 120 - Cell 2
122Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension DataRow 121 - Cell 2
123Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky0:00:32
124Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Sunweb0:00:34
125Simon Geschke (Ger) Team SunwebRow 124 - Cell 2
126Alberto Losada (Spa) Katusha-AlpecinRow 125 - Cell 2
127Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-DrapacRow 126 - Cell 2
128Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin0:00:36
129Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-AlpecinRow 128 - Cell 2
130Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team0:00:38
131Julien Morice (Fra) Direct Energie0:00:39
132Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:00:40
133Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 132 - Cell 2
134Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Katusha-AlpecinRow 133 - Cell 2
135Gregory Rast (Swi) Trek-SegafredoRow 134 - Cell 2
136Lawson Craddock (USA) Cannondale-Drapac0:00:43
137Mitch Docker (Aus) Orica-Scott0:00:59
138Davide Cimolai (Ita) FDJ0:01:01
139Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Bahrain-Merida0:01:03
140Omar Fraile (Spa) Dimension Data0:01:08
141Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:12
142Jose Herrada (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 141 - Cell 2
143José Mendes (Por) Bora-HansgroheRow 142 - Cell 2
144Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 143 - Cell 2
145Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac0:01:16
146Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension DataRow 145 - Cell 2
147Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJRow 146 - Cell 2
148Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-DrapacRow 147 - Cell 2
149Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-SegafredoRow 148 - Cell 2
150Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 149 - Cell 2
151Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team SunwebRow 150 - Cell 2
152Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott0:01:22
153Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Sky0:01:25
154David Lopez (Spa) Team SkyRow 153 - Cell 2
155Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 154 - Cell 2
156Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto SoudalRow 155 - Cell 2
157Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 156 - Cell 2
158Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team0:01:29
159David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors0:01:49
160Ben King (USA) Dimension DataRow 159 - Cell 2
161Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:02
162Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:03:41
163Andrea Guardini (Ita) Team UAE Emirates0:05:37
164Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 163 - Cell 2
165Tyler Farrar (USA) Dimension DataRow 164 - Cell 2
166Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 165 - Cell 2
DNFReinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension DataRow 166 - Cell 2
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Points
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe15pts
2Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin12Row 1 - Cell 3
3John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo9Row 2 - Cell 3
4Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors7Row 3 - Cell 3
5Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb6Row 4 - Cell 3
6Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ5Row 5 - Cell 3
7André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal4Row 6 - Cell 3
8Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits3Row 7 - Cell 3
9Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data2Row 8 - Cell 3
10Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott1Row 9 - Cell 3
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Sprint 1 - Époisses - 55.0 km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM3pts
2Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Ben King (USA) Dimension Data1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Sprint 2 - Mercurey - 173.0 km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale3pts
2Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Mountain 1 - Côte De Grandmont - 128.0 km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Ben King (USA) Dimension Data4pts
2Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Mountain 2 - Côte De Charrecey - 164.5 km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale7pts
2Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM5Row 1 - Cell 3
3Ben King (USA) Dimension Data3Row 2 - Cell 3
4Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept2Row 3 - Cell 3
5Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits1Row 4 - Cell 3
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Young riders
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits4:31:14
2Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-ScottRow 1 - Cell 2
3Daniel Mclay (GBr) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 2 - Cell 2
4Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 3 - Cell 2
5Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJRow 4 - Cell 2
6Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Jan Polanc (Slo) Team UAE EmiratesRow 6 - Cell 2
8Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 7 - Cell 2
9Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step FloorsRow 8 - Cell 2
10Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-DrapacRow 9 - Cell 2
11Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-ScottRow 10 - Cell 2
12Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 11 - Cell 2
13Sam Oomen (Ned) Team SunwebRow 12 - Cell 2
14Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 13 - Cell 2
15Simone Petilli (Ita) Team UAE EmiratesRow 14 - Cell 2
16Federico Zurlo (Ita) Team UAE EmiratesRow 15 - Cell 2
17Michal Kolár (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 16 - Cell 2
18Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 17 - Cell 2
19Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Sebastian Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 19 - Cell 2
21Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 20 - Cell 2
22Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Quentin Pacher (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:00:26
24Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 23 - Cell 2
25Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:00:28
26Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin0:00:40
27Lawson Craddock (USA) Cannondale-Drapac0:00:43