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Sam Bennett.
Sam Bennett.
Image: Christophe Ena

Sam Bennett misses out on another win on stage two of Paris-Nice

A late crash proved a disruption as Bennett crossed in fifth place.
Mar 8th 2021, 4:31 PM 4,914 2

SAM BENNETT FINISHED fifth and missed out on a second-straight stage victory of Paris-Nice today, bamboozled by a late crash and eventually finishing fifth. 

Bennett wasn’t part of a crash involving 15 riders a kilometre from the finishing line of today’s stage, but was disrupted by it and ultimately placed fifth in a sprint finish to the line, the second stage won by outsider Cees Bol. 

Bennett lost the yellow jersey to Australian Michael Matthews, in his first major race for the Bike Exchange team, who took bonus seconds in the intermediary sprints.

“I stayed waiting but it was super hard as we had a few crashes”, said Bennett.

“I waited too long, even after the corner. I had really good legs but I waited too long. I thought it was longer after the last corner.

“That’s sprinting. Sometimes you get boxed in and you can’t do anything. It’s unfortunate for I had very good legs and I would have liked to get another today.”

Bennett has slipped to third in the general classification, though retains the green jersey. 

Overall favourites Primoz Roglic and Tao Geoghegan Hart both finished with the main pack behind the crash but were awarded the same time as the winners.

Monday’s stage embarked from the tiny village of Oinville-sur-Montcient with 160 riders for an almost pancake flat 188km run.

Wind not hills was the difficulty of the day as the race headed south of Paris into the great, green pastures of wind-exposed fields where the wheat and corn have not yet grown to create any shelter for the cyclists.

But the crosswinds that have so affected recent editions caused only a brief break in the pack on Monday as the peloton trudged along together most of the way to the finish line at Amily.

Kiwi George Bennett cashed into a post on a tricky village road and hit his head hard enough to break his helmet.

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The Jumbo climber gathered his senses and was off on his way before the race doctor could examine him.

Faring worse was Alexis Vuillermoz of Total Direct Energie, who pulled out after another fall in which he appeared to suffer a shoulder injury.

With reporting by Gavin Cooney 

© – AFP, 2021

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