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Sam Bennett wins men's Race Torquay

Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) won the men's Race Torquay evening race in Victoria, Australia, on Thursday, as riders warmed up for the weekend's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

The Irishman got an excellent lead out from teammate Michael Mørkøv to beat Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) and Alberto Dainese (Team Sunweb). 

A strong attack by Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott)  and Dries Devenyns (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was caught with a lap to go and the sprinters' team chased down a solo attack by Pavel Sivakov (Team Ineos) to ensure a high-speed bunch sprint.

"It was a hard race, but at one point I asked the guys to make it a bit harder for everyone else, and they did exactly that, and did the perfect job," Bennett said after taking the win.

"It was tough, being the first effort after the Tour Down Under, and it was a very hard course," he continued. "But it was a really good distance, as being only 130km made it aggressive."

How it unfolded

The earlier women's Race Torquay – won by FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope's Brodie Chapman – had raced in temperatures in the high 30 degrees Centigrade, but things had cooled a little, to the low-to-mid 30s, by the time of the men's race in the late afternoon.

The race's early five-man breakaway – made up of Nick Schultz (Mitchelton-Scott), Neilson Powless (EF Pro Cycling), Sunweb's Rob Power, Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain McLaren) and Clément Chevrier (AG2R La Mondiale) – might have been expected to stay away for longer than it did, but it was clear that the sprinters' teams weren't willing to take any risks, with the quintet being reeled just before the end of lap six of the 10-lap race.

On the tougher, more undulating first third of the 13.3km circuit on lap seven, Lotto Soudal's Caleb Ewan dropped off the back as a result of the ever-quickening pace, perhaps preferring to keep his powder dry for Sunday's race.

It was the cue for Deceuninck-QuickStep's Dries Devenyns and Mitchelton-Scott's Daryl Impey to try their luck, and the duo built up a small lead over the chasing pack over the next three laps.

The bunch, led by Israel Start-Up Nation for their sprinter André Greipel, had brought the gap down to around 20 seconds with two laps to go, but seemed to realise that they'd been a little too hasty, and would have two laps to try to control things, and so left the pair hanging a little longer.

Heading into the last lap, NTT – for Nizzolo – and Cofidis, riding for European road race champion Elia Viviani, helped Israel Start-Up Nation bring it all back together, and NTT's Dylan Sutherland led the bunch across the line for the penultimate time.

Various riders attempted to escape on the last lap – including Lotto's Adam Hansen – but were never given much rope. Pavel Sivakov (Team Ineos) was the next to attack, with around five kilometres left to race, and got a good gap, attempting to time-trial towards the finish.

It was all together again going into the final kilometre, however, with the sprinters' teams winding up the speed to ensure that no more attacks could go clear, and a crash that brought down Team BridgeLane's Jensen Plowright with 150 metres to go couldn't affect the frontrunners.

Bennett took the victory from Nizzolo and Dainese with relative ease after a lead-out from Danish road race champion Mørkøv, which surely now elevates the Irish road race champion into the category of favourite for Sunday's race.

Results

Full result
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck - Quick - Step 3:01:26
2Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Pro Cycling Team
3Alberto Dainese (Ita) Team Sunweb
4Kaden Groves (Aus) Mitchelton - Scott
5Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
6Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama - FDJ
7Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek - Segafredo
8Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
9Roger Kluge (Ger) Lotto Soudal
10Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
11Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) EF Pro Cycling
12Marco Haller (Aut) Bahrain - McLaren
13Francisco Jose Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) CCC Team
14Erik Baska (Svk) Bora - Hansgrohe
15Nicholas White (Aus) Team Bridgelane
16Martin Laas (Est) Bora - Hansgrohe
17Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama - FDJ
18Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek - Segafredo
19Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
20Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Pro Cycling Team
21Rob Power (Aus) Team Sunweb
22Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start - Up Nation 0:00:07
23Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team 0:00:09
24Lawrence Warbasse (USA) AG2R La Mondiale
25Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) CCC Team
26Benjamin Hill (Aus) Team Bridgelane
27Samuel Jenner (Aus) Team Bridgelane 0:00:11
28Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain - McLaren
29Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain - McLaren
30Elliot Schultz (Aus) Australia
31Clément Chevrier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
32Godfrey Slattery (Aus) Australia
33Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale
34Danilo Wyss (Swi) Pro Cycling Team
35Michel Ries (Lux) Trek - Segafredo
36Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
37Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama - FDJ
38Carter Turnbull (Aus) Australia
39Jay Mc Carthy (Aus) Bora - Hansgrohe
40Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora - Hansgrohe
41Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) CCC Team
42Neilson Powless (USA) EF Pro Cycling
43Max Kanter (Ger) Team Sunweb
44André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start - Up Nation
45Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis
46Shane Archbold (NZl) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
47Juan Pedro Lopez Perez (Spa) Trek - Segafredo 0:00:21
48Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek - Segafredo
49Owain Doull (GBr) Team Ineos
50Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team
51Tom Scully (NZl) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:24
52Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora - Hansgrohe
53Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama - FDJ 0:00:26
54Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Mitchelton - Scott
55Simon Philip Yates (GBr) Mitchelton - Scott
56Fabian Lienhard (Swi) Groupama - FDJ
57Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Team Ineos
58Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cofidis 0:00:29
59Dion Smith (NZl) Mitchelton - Scott
60Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain - McLaren 0:00:33
61Santiago Buitrago Sanchez (Col) Bahrain - McLaren 0:00:35
62Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Ineos 0:00:38
63Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start - Up Nation 0:00:41
64Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama - FDJ 0:00:49
65Jonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:52
66Florian Stork (Ger) Team Sunweb
67Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Ineos
68Alastair Christie-johnston (Aus) Team Bridgelane
69Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek - Segafredo
70Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb
71Ayden Toovey (Aus) Team Bridgelane
72Thomas Benton (Aus) Australia
73Michael Storer (Aus) Team Sunweb
74Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Pro Cycling
75Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
76Stefan De Bod (RSA) Pro Cycling Team 0:00:54
77Lachlan Morton (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
78Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
79João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck - Quick - Step 0:01:03
80Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora - Hansgrohe
81Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Team Ineos 0:01:06
82Tosh Van der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:09
83Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton - Scott 0:01:24
84Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
85Samuele Battistella (Ita) Pro Cycling Team 0:01:42
86Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora - Hansgrohe
87Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb 0:02:23
88Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Start - Up Nation 0:02:35
89Jonathan Dibben (GBr) Lotto Soudal
90Christopher Lawless (GBr) Team Ineos 0:03:26
91Adam James Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal 0:03:38
92Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Pro Cycling Team 0:04:56
93Blake Quick (Aus) Australia 0:05:43
94Alexander Cataford (Can) Israel Start - Up Nation 0:06:06
95Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis 0:08:19
96Josef Černý (Cze) CCC Team
97Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton - Scott
98Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start - Up Nation 0:08:21
99Dylan Sunderland (Aus) Pro Cycling Team 0:08:22
DNFMattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
DNFCaleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
DNFThomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFMatthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal
DNFSamuel Bewley (NZl) Mitchelton - Scott
DNFDomen Novak (Slo) Bahrain - McLaren
DNFAxel Domont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFMickael Delage (Fra) Groupama - FDJ
DNFAlex Dowsett (GBr) Israel Start - Up Nation
DNFMathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis
DNFMarco Mathis (Ger) Cofidis
DNFJensen Plowright (Aus) Team Bridgelane
DNFSteele Von Hoff (Aus) Australia
DNFConor Leahy (Aus) Australia
DNFTyler Lindorff (Aus) Team Bridgelane

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