Ireland’s Sam Bennett has won his second stage of this year’s Paris-Nice by claiming stage 6 from Peynier to Brignoles.
The 176.5 km stage, which featured three categorized climbs, all in the second half of the stage, adds to the Waterford cyclist’s stage 3 victory in Moulins during the week.
The Bora-Hansgrohe sprinter found the extra gear in the last stretch of Friday’s stage to overtake France’s Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) on the line, while Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) was third.
Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) controlled the race all day to retain his yellow jersey, even if he lost one second to Spain’s Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team) in the intermediate sprints of the day.
Three riders went clear from the bunch as the peloton held them on a short leash, never allowing them more than three minutes advantage during stage 6. Just before the first ascent of the day, the Côte de la Sainte-Baume, the gap fell quickly as the bunch increased the pace significantly.
Before the break crested the climb, the race was all back together, and from that point on the tempo remained high as strong wind effected the race. Some of the sprinters soon lost contact as the bunch split into several groups.
With Bennett, Drucker, Großschartner and Poljanski BORA – hansgrohe had four riders at the front. There was another selection on the last climb and a greatly reduced bunch approached Brignoles. On the fast run down into the city, BORA – hansgrohe was able to deliver Bennett in a very good position. The Irish sprinter waited until the last minute to open his sprint, as he got his timing almost to perfection, overtaking Arnaud Démare near the line, with Italian Matteo Trentin claiming third place.
Speaking after stage 6, the two-time stage winner of Paris-Nice 2019, said:
“I wanted to go hard today, because it was a perfect stage in terms of preparation for Sanremo. I thought I wouldn’t be able to survive the second last climb, but I made it. In the last few kilometres I had really good legs. I knew there is no need to panic, I just had to follow my teammates, who did a fantastic job. I got almost boxed in on the final metres but made my way through. I could beat some of the best sprinters once again, I am really looking forward to Sanremo now, which is my first goal of the season.”
Bennett’s impressive second stage win at Paris-Nice means he now leads the points classification. Wearing the green points jersey as well as his two victories so far this week was highly praise by BORA – hansgrohe Directeur Sportif, Jens Zemke, who stated:
“Sam is in an amazing shape. He climbs impressively well and knows when to ride in good positions. The team supported him more than perfect today, and this paid off with an impressive second stage win.”