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Volta ao Algarve: Sam Bennett wins stage 1 sprint

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Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) went deep

Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) went deep (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) wins stage 1 at the Volta ao Algarve

(Image credit: Getty Images)
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SAINTCYRLECOLE FRANCE MARCH 07 Arrival Sam Bennett of Ireland and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Celebration Arnaud Demare of France and Team Groupama FDJ Mads Pedersen of Denmark and Team Trek Segafredo during the 79th Paris Nice 2021 Stage 1 a 166km stage from SaintCyrlEcole to SaintCyrlEcole ParisNice on March 07 2021 in SaintCyrlEcole France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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The Volta ao Algarve cross a bridge

The Volta ao Algarve cross a bridge (Image credit: Getty Images )
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The Volta ao Algarve peloton

The Volta ao Algarve peloton (Image credit: Getty Images )
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Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep)

Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) (Image credit: Getty Images )
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Deceuninck-QuickStep and Bora-Hansgrohe lead the chase

Deceuninck-QuickStep and Bora-Hansgrohe lead the chase (Image credit: Getty Images )
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Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was back in action

Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was back in action (Image credit: Getty Images )
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Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) celebrates

Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) celebrates (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Cameron Wurf (Ineos Grenadiers)

Cameron Wurf (Ineos Grenadiers) (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The local fans enjoyed the race in the sun

The local fans enjoyed the race in the sun (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The race is about to get underway

The race is about to get underway (Image credit: Getty Images)

Sam Bennett won the opening stage of Volta ao Algarve after a typically exemplary lead-out from his Deceuninck-QuickStep team.

Despite a messy, technical final few kilometres, where two splits briefly occurred at the front of the peloton, Deceuninck-QuickStep still ensured both Davide Ballerini and Michael Morkov were able to lead Bennett out in the final kilometre. 

Danny Van Poppel (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux) sealed second place, with Jon Aberasturi (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) managing third.

“I’m pretty happy,” said Bennett at the finish. “I didn’t know how good the legs were going to be coming into this race after a short break. I was on the limit today, but the team did an incredible job. Even when they came down in crashes, they adapted to the situation and were able to do a fantastic job.”

The crash occurred 5km from the finish, when Bennett’s teammates Shane Archbold and Fabio Jakobsen came down, in an incident that caused a group of around 16 riders to open up a small gap over the rest of the peloton.

The two groups came back together a kilometre later, only for another four riders, including three from W52/FC Porto, to gain a few bike lengths after a motorcycle got in the way attempting to overtake the peloton as it narrowed going round a roundabout 3km from the finish.

They too were brought back, however, and Deceuninck-QuickStep were able to regain control at the front of the race at the crucial time, with Ballerini (who had also crashed earlier in the stage) moving to the front of the peloton as they reached the final roundabout of the stage inside the final kilometre, with Morkov and Bennett behind him.

“I just had to stay alert and try and stay upright,” explained Bennett in regards to this tense finale. “I put my trust in my teammates when they came back in the last 2k. It was hard in the end, my legs were kinda spent, but I managed to pull it off."

Despite winning the sprint comfortably ahead of Van Poppel, Bennett revealed that he actually didn’t feel very strong in the sprint, and felt as though he was lacking his best legs following a break from racing. 

“I have a lot of work to do after the sensations I got today. But it was a boost of confidence as I could still finish the job off.”

How it unfolded

Having been postponed from its usual February slot due to the pandemic, the Volta ao Algarve got underway today with a flat opening stage expected to end in a bunch sprint.

This later date in the year meant warmer conditions, and the temperature neared thirty degrees with barely a cloud in the sky.

Five riders got into the day’s break, all of them from non-WorldTour teams. They were: Carlos Canal (Burgos-BH), Jon Irisarri (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Gustavo Cesar (Atum General-Tavira-Maria Nova Hotel), Hugo Nunes (Rádio Popular Boavista) and Nicolas Paredes (Louletano-Loule Concelho).

Five became four, however, when Paredes crashed only a few kilometres after the break had formed. 

The peloton was happy to let them open up a gap, and the four remaining riders were free to contest the day’s intermediate sprints and sole categorised climb.

Irisarri and Nunes were the riders most interested in collecting these, with the former being first over the line on the climb and the first intermediate sprint, and the latter gaining maximum points over the latter two. 

By the time Nunes won the sprint for the last intermediate sprint, there was just under 30km left to ride, and the peloton were less than one minute behind, with Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-QuickStep keeping them at a safe distance.

Everything was quiet and under control, although Deceuninck-QuickStep suffered a blow when Davide Ballerini was one of five riders to be held up in a crash 26km from the finish.

Another crash occurred shortly afterwards, this time involving about half a dozen riders. Thankfully all were able to continue. 

The catch was made 19km from the finish, and shortly afterwards the sprinters teams started to mass at the front of the peloton, including Arkea-Samsic, Bora-Hansgrohe, Ineos Grenadiers and Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB.

The pace was high, but Peio Goikoetxea (Euskaltel Euskadi) attempted an attack 10km from the finish. He lasted a couple of kilometres, but the peloton was going too fast to allow him to survive any longer, with Ineos Grenadiers now at the front.

Caja Rural-Seguros RGA were leading the peloton when the first split occurred, and W52/FC Porto for the second, but inevitably it was Deceuninck-QuickStep who took over in the final kilometres to set Bennett up for the win. 

Provisional Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-QuickStep 4:37:42
2Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:00:00
3Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:00:00
4Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Pol) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB 0:00:01
5Iúri Leitão (Por) Tavfer-Measindot-Mortágua 0:00:01
6Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:01
7Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:01
8Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:01
9Mikel Aristi Gardoki (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:01
10Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:01
11Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB 0:00:01
12Thomas Boudat (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:00:01
13Ivo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:01
14Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:00:01
15Marc Sarreau (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:00:01
16Daniel Freitas (Por) Radio Popular-Boavista 0:00:02
17Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:00:02
18Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:00:02
19Samuel Caldeira (Por) W52/FC Porto 0:00:02
20João Rodrigues (Por) W52/FC Porto 0:00:03
21Luís Fernandes (Por) Radio Popular-Boavista 0:00:03
22Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:00:03
23Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:03
24Nicolas Prodhomme (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:00:03
25Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Efapel 0:00:04
26Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:04
27Luís Gomes (Por) Kelly-Simoldes-UDO 0:00:05
28Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:00:05
29Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:05
30Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Delko 0:00:05
31Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:05
32César Fonte (Por) Kelly-Simoldes-UDO 0:00:06
33Vicente Garcia De Mateos Rubio (Spa) Antarte-Feirense 0:00:06
34Rafael Silva (Por) Antarte-Feirense 0:00:06
35Gavin Mannion (USA) Rally Cycling 0:00:06
36Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:00:06
37Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:06
38Kévin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:06
39Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:07
40Alejandro Marque Porto (Spa) Atum General/Tavira/Maria Nova Hotel 0:00:07
41Amaro Antunes (Por) W52/FC Porto 0:00:07
42Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:00:08
43Anthony Jullien (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:00:08
44Gonçalo Amado (Por) Antarte-Feirense 0:00:08
45Jetse Bol (Ned) Burgos-BH 0:00:08
46Marti Marquez Roman (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:00:08
47Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:08
48Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team 0:00:09
49Thibault Guernalec (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
50Daniel Mestre (Por) W52/FC Porto 0:00:09
51Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Delko 0:00:09
52Jóni Brandão (Por) W52/FC Porto 0:00:09
53Leangel Ruben Linarez Meneses (Ven) Tavfer-Measindot-Mortágua 0:00:10
54Hugo Nunes (Por) Radio Popular-Boavista 0:00:10
55Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:10
56Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:10
57Diego Lopez Fuentes (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:00:10
58João Benta (Por) Radio Popular-Boavista 0:00:10
59Maxime Bouet (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:00:10
60Aritz Bagües Kalparsoro (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:00:10
61Damien Touze (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:00:11
62Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko 0:00:11
63Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:11
64Joaquim Silva (Por) Tavfer-Measindot-Mortágua 0:00:11
65Jose Manuel Diaz Gallego (Spa) Delko 0:00:11
66César Martingil (Por) Atum General/Tavira/Maria Nova Hotel 0:00:11
67Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:11
68Willem Jakobus Smit (RSA) Burgos-BH 0:00:12
69Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team 0:00:12
70Aleksandr Grigorev (Rus) Atum General/Tavira/Maria Nova Hotel 0:00:12
71Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:00:12
72Gaspar Gonçalves (Por) Tavfer-Measindot-Mortágua 0:00:12
73Julen Irizar Laskurain (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:12
74Leonardo Basso (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:13
75Rafael Lourenço (Por) Atum General/Tavira/Maria Nova Hotel 0:00:14
76Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:39
77Joey Rosskopf (USA) Rally Cycling 0:00:39
78Emanuel Duarte (Por) Atum General/Tavira/Maria Nova Hotel 0:00:40
79Joan Bou Company (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:40
80Sergio Roman Martin Galan (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:00:40
81Fábio Oliveira (Por) Antarte-Feirense 0:00:41
82Alberto Gallego Ruiz (Spa) Radio Popular-Boavista 0:00:41
83Alvaro Trueba Diego (Spa) Atum General/Tavira/Maria Nova Hotel 0:00:41
84Cesar Nicolas Paredes Avellaneda (Col) Louletano-Loulé Concelho 0:00:41
85Ivan Moreno Sanchez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:00:42
86Henrique Casimiro (Por) Kelly-Simoldes-UDO 0:00:42
87Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:00:42
88Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB 0:00:42
89Nuno Meireles (Por) Louletano-Loulé Concelho 0:00:42
90Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling 0:00:42
91Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB 0:00:42
92Keegan Swirbul (USA) Rally Cycling 0:00:43
93Remy Mertz (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB 0:00:43
94Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB 0:00:43
95Clément Carisey (Fra) Delko 0:00:44
96Hector Saez Benito (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:00:44
97José Fernandes (Por) W52/FC Porto 0:00:44
98Emerson Oronte (USA) Rally Cycling 0:00:45
99Bruno Silva (Por) Antarte-Feirense 0:00:45
100Nathan Brown (USA) Rally Cycling 0:00:51
101Kyle Murphy (USA) Rally Cycling 0:00:51
102David Gonzalez Lopez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:00:51
103Martin Laas (Est) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:57
104Frederico Figueiredo (Por) Efapel 0:01:01
105Ricardo Mestre (Por) W52/FC Porto 0:01:03
106Cameron Wurf (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:03
107Rafael Reis (Por) Efapel 0:01:04
108André Ramalho (Por) L.A. Alumínios/L.A. Sport 0:01:04
109Brandon Rivera Vargas (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:06
110Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rom) Delko 0:01:08
111Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:20
112Karel Hnik (Cze) Efapel 0:01:25
113Venceslau Fernandes (Por) Antarte-Feirense 0:01:26
114Marvin Scheulen (Por) L.A. Alumínios/L.A. Sport 0:01:35
115Marcelo Salvador (Por) L.A. Alumínios/L.A. Sport 0:01:55
116William Bonnet (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:02:23
117Clément Davy (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:02:23
118Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:02:23
119Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko 0:02:23
120Gustavo Cesar Veloso (Spa) Atum General/Tavira/Maria Nova Hotel 0:02:23
121Mikel Alonso Flores (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:02:32
122Tomas Contte (Arg) Louletano-Loulé Concelho 0:03:14
123David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Louletano-Loulé Concelho 0:03:39
124Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:03:59
125Kenny Molly (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB 0:04:16
126Gabriel Muller (Fra) Burgos-BH 0:04:17
127Peio Goikoetxea Goiogana (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:04:31
128Dzmitry Zhyhunou (Blr) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:04:31
129Tiago Antunes (Por) Tavfer-Measindot-Mortágua 0:04:32
130Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:04:32
131Pedro Paulinho (Por) Tavfer-Measindot-Mortágua 0:04:32
132Christophe Noppe (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:04:32
133Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:04:39
134Jonas Koch (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:04:39
135Shane Archbold (NZl) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:04:56
136Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:04:56
137Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:05:53
138Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:05:53
139Carlos Oyarzún (Chi) Louletano-Loulé Concelho 0:05:53
140Jon Irisarri Ricon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:05:53
141Rui Rodrigues (Por) Louletano-Loulé Concelho 0:05:53
142Alexys Brunel (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:05:54
143Jesus Del Pino Corrochano (Spa) Louletano-Loulé Concelho 0:08:56
144Edwin Avila Vanegas (Col) Burgos-BH
145Sérgio Paulinho (Por) L.A. Alumínios/L.A. Sport

General classification after stage 1
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-QuickStep 4:37:41
2Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
3Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
4Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Pol) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
5Iúri Leitão (Por) Tavfer-Measindot-Mortágua
6Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
7Jarrad Drizners (Aus) Hagens Berman Axeon
8Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
9Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
10Mikel Aristi Gardoki (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
11Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
12Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
13Thomas Boudat (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
14Ivo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
15Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos-BH

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