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Nightmare 2018 opener for Ireland's Sam Bennett as he's forced way down the field in Oz

He suffered a late mechanical issue.

IRELAND’S SAM BENNETT has not had the best of starts to 2018.

Presidential Tour of Turkey 2017 - Stage 5 Sam Bennett (file pic). Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

The Carrick-On-Suir native was in action at the Tour Down Under earlier, but suffered a late mechanical issue.

The Bora–Hansgrohe rider was in a good position in the closing stages and it looked like he’d lead his teammate Peter Sagan out for the sprint, but the chain went on his bike.

A desperate attempt to fix it himself on the roadside failed and he was left frustrated. A team mechanic eventually got him back in action, but he trailed home towards the back of the field.

Bennett finished with a time of 03:46 in 131st. Sagan meanwhile, ended up third white Lotto Soudal’s Andre Griepel won the opening stage of the Santos Tour Down Under.

Stage One ran 145km from Port Adelaide to Lyndoch. Stage Two kicks off tomorrow from Unley to Sterling.

Back in October, Bennett looked like he’d end 2017 on a high with four stage wins on the Tour of Turkey but the final day saw him suffer a crash as Diego Ulissi of the United Arab Emirates powered home as the overall winner.

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