Paris Nice: Stage 3

Sam Bennett confidently took the 3rd stage at Paris – Nice, his first ever World Tour win for him and BORA – hansgrohe.

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Paris Nice: Stage 3

Photo: @ParisNice (Twitter)

Team Press Release
With a perfectly timed sprint, Sam Bennett confidently took the 3rd stage at Paris – Nice, his first ever World Tour win for him and BORA – hansgrohe.

For the first time in this year’s edition of Paris – Nice, the riders started in dry conditions – a great relief for the riders. Nevertheless, again it was cold on the 3rd stage over 190k to Chalon-Sur-Saône. From the sharp start, a group of three riders attacked. After the demanding last days, the peloton decided to take it a little easy and the breakaway’s advantage grew fast to more than 5 minutes.

After the gap increased to almost 8 minutes, the sprinter teams took over control in the peloton after the feeding zone. The distance between break and bunch decreased immediately and at the foot of the first KOM of the day the gap was down to 4:00.

When at the second and last KOM of the day, with 25k to go, the gap was just one minute, it was just a matter of time when the escapees will be brought back from the peloton. At 3k the pack was back together and everything was set for a bunch sprint.

BORA – hansgrohe was fighting hard on the left side to move up with Sam Bennett. First Michael Kolar and then Juraj Sagan did the lead-out, when Patrick Konrad came from behind with 500m to go. Sam jumped on his wheel and with the momentum he found himself in a perfect position as he decided to go at 200m to the line. It was a perfectly timed sprint which ended with the first ever WorldTour win for Sam Bennett and BORA – hansgrohe.
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Sam Bennett: “I have chased that first WorldTour win for quite a while and I feel very relieved. The boys did an awesome job. First Michael and Juraj brought me up and then with 500m to go Patrick came from behind with lots of speed. I was able to jump on his wheel and with that momentum I was perfectly placed with 300m to go”.

“I launched my sprint at 200m and I always felt I could win. It is just a great feeling now to have that win under my belt. I suffered a lot last year in the Tour de France after my crash on the first stage, but I did hang on and rode all the way until Paris. To finish that Grand Tour I think brought me to another level.”

John Degenkolb: Finally it was easier and more controlled today with a small breakaway,” Degenkolb said. “We didn’t need to work in the chase. In the end, the final was tough because it was always up and down on small roads – that suited me also very well. We could stay in good position in the front of the bunch, and again it was a hectic sprint; everyone wants to win here.

“The team did a really good job to put me in position; unfortunately, Eddie (Thuens) was not able to come to the front again in the last kilometer. I was still able to do a good sprint, and I am happy with the third place.”

Alexander Kristoff: “Michael and the team did a good job to put me in the front. With 500m to go André Greipel came on my right and Bennet on my left and I had to brake as I was squeezed between two guys as the road got more narrow. I lost a bit of speed and had to accelerate again. Unfortunately, Bennett managed to take my wheel and there was a bit of a headwind so when he came around me he had good speed and I could not answer. There are many big sprinters here so second place is not a bad result but for sure we want to win.”

Dan McLay: “I was well placed two kilometres from the finish, but in the last 600 meters, my progress was halted by riders slowing down. It’s my fault that I only finish 11th. If I had had the option to go further left, I might have approached a top 5. I have good legs, and my teammates have done a great job for me. I’m a bit disappointed not to give a better result for the team”.

Today’s stage four is a 14.5-kilometre time trial where the general classification battle will be the focus.

Alberto Contador: “The wind finally was more quiet (on stage 3), and it only rained a little, and we were grateful to ride on dry roads. Today, I think there will be big differences. On paper it is a flat course for the first part with last 3kms uphill, but it won’t be until later that I will see it. It will be difficult to see it tomorrow morning because the hotel is over 100kms away, but at least I’ll see it once before the race. I think it’s good for me thanks to that last part being uphill. But first, let’s see how I have recovered. It is an important day and I will have to give the maximum, and then we will see where we stand.”

Stage 3
1. Sam Bennett, Bora – Hansgrohe
2. Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha – Alpecin
3. John Degenkolb, Trek – Segafredo
4. Marcel Kittel, Quick-Step Floors
5. Michael Matthews, Team Sunweb
6. Arnaud Démare, FDJ
7. André Greipel, Lotto Soudal
8. Christophe Laporte, Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
9. Kristian Sbaragli, Dimension Data
10. Magnus Cort Nielsen, ORICA-Scott
11. Daniel McLay, Fortuneo – Vital Concept

31. Ben Swift, UAE Team Emirates
42. Daniel Martin, Quick-Step Floors
45. Simon Yates, ORICA-Scott
123. Luke Rowe, Team Sky 0:32

1. Arnaud Démare, FDJ1012:14:42
2. Julian Alaphilippe, Quick-Step Floors 0:06
3. Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha – Alpecin 0:13
4. Philippe Gilbert, Quick-Step Floors 0:17
5. Tony Gallopin, Lotto Soudal 0:19
6. Romain Hardy, Fortuneo – Vital Concept 0:21
7. Sergio Henao, LuisTeam Sky 0:23
8. Rudy Molard, FDJ
9. Daniel Martin, Quick-Step Floors



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