Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) emerged victorious from an epic sprint finish on a long home straight at Moulins/Yzeure on Tuesday’s stage three of the Paris-Nice.
Winner of the past two stages, Dylan Groenewegen looked to be on his way to a third straight win and while ultimately he could not keep pace with Bennett, the Jumbo-Visma rider kept the overall leader’s yellow jersey.
Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) was third ahead of Daniel McLay (EF Education First) in fourth with French sprinter Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept-B&B Hotel) fifth.
“I knew that the form was there and that I just had to keep on trying. Today the legs were a lot better, it was an easier day but I’m starting to get a bit more used to the cold,” said Bennett.
“It’s nice to come back here and win again,” he said, referring to a stage win here in 2017.
Mark Cavendish pulled out of the strength-sapping windswept stage on Monday and the entire peloton appeared to be weary on a day when the average speed was a slow 38kph.
There were again several crashes and retirements after two brutal days and Tuesday’s most notable victim was Fabio Aru.
With 18km to race, Sky duo Egan Bernal and Michal Kwiatkowski made a concerted bid to get away, but the sprinters’ teams galvanised a catch-up posse to set up the first real bunch sprint on the eight-day race.
Bernal picked up bonus seconds again in the intermediate sprint and is top of the white jersey rankings and a strong bet for overall victory in Nice with only a handful of seconds separating the top spots.
Wednesday’s stage four features four climbs in the final section and ends at Pelussin in the Loire region.
Paris-Nice 2019 – stage 3 results (Cepoy – Moulins/Yzeure):
|1||Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|2||Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal)|
|3||Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|4||Daniel McLay (EF Education First)|
|5||Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept-B&B Hotel)|
|6||Niccolò Bonifazio (Direct Energie)|
|7||Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates)|
|8||Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)|
|9||Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma)|
|10||Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)|
Paris-Nice 2019 – general classification after stage 3:
|1||Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma)|
|2||Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky)|
|3||Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana)|
|4||Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|5||Egan Bernal (Team Sky)|
|6||Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott)|
|7||Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale)|
|8||Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ)|
|9||Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)|
|10||Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale)|