Sam Bennett wins the opening stage in Paris-Nice after a mighty sprint

The worst luck today was for Richie Porte, crashed but got going again and seemed to have problems with his back and gave up after one last attempt. And there were also attacks, first by Fabien Doubey, whose lonely flight was doomed to fail in advance. Philippe Gilbert also tried it for a while and later his teammate Kobe Goossens. But there was never more than half a minute of leeway. The sprint was therefore inevitable. We got the expected chaotic finale. Jordi Meeus piloted his leader Ackermann, but he came to a halt on the sloping finish lane. Sam Bennett had timed much better and won with a big lead. Démare kept Pedersen from 2nd place, Jasper Philipsen sprinted from the distant background to 4th place. Sam will be in yelow tomorrow for another possible bunchsprint!!

Just loves a slight uphill sprint as seen here in his early day’s as a young continental pro in the Ras (Photo courtesy Jerome Rafferty Armagh)

GC after stage 1
Parijs – Nice klassement
1 Sam Bennett DQT 3:51:28
2 Arnaud Démare GFC +4
3 Michael Matthews BEX +5
4 Mads Pedersen TFS +6
5 Ben Swift IGD +9
6 Jasper Philipsen AFC +10
7 Bryan Coquard BBK +10
8 Pascal Ackermann BOH +10
9 Phil Bauhaus TBV +10
10 Christophe Laporte COF +10