Sam Bennett wins Tour Down Under opening stage

Sam Bennett timed his sprint perfectly Tuesday to win the 150-kilometer opening stage of the Tour Down Under.

The Irish rider took advantage of exceptional lead-out work by his Deceuninck-Quick-Step teammates to cross the line half a bike length ahead of Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates). Erik Baska (Bora-hansgrohe) was third and Elia Viviani (Cofidis).

The stage featured five laps of a 30-kilometer circuit through the picturesque wine-growing region of the Barossa Valley, starting and finishing in Tanunda and passing through the townships of Angaston, Bethany and Nuriootpa.

There was a 2.3-kilometer straight dash to the finish which Bennett thought wouldn’t suit his racing style.

But he was brought into the finish just at the right time, edging along the barriers on the left side of the road and breaking clear to hold out Philipsen and to post his first win for his new, Belgium-based team.

”I think it was definitely the job of the team which was the reason why I won today,” Bennett said. ”I’d be lying if I didn’t feel the pressure coming (to a new team) to get that first win.

”The guys did an absolutely fantastic job, kept me in great position and they did the lead-out perfectly. Every one of them played a superb role today and I can’t thank them enough.”

Tour Down Under 2020 – stage 1 results (Tanunda – Tanunda):

1Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

3:28:54

2Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates)

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3Erik Baska (Bora-hansgrohe)

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4Elia Viviani (Cofidis)

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5André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation)

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6Kristoffer Halvorsen (EF Pro Cycling)

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7Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal)

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8Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ)

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9Sam Welsford (UniSA-Australia)

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10Alberto Dainese (Team Sunweb)

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Tour Down Under 2020 – general classification after stage 1:

1Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

3:28:44

2Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates)

+04”

3Erik Baska (Bora-hansgrohe)

+06”

4Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott)

+07”

5Jarrad Drizners (UniSA-Australia)

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6Chris Lawless (Team Ineos)

+08”

7Dylan Sunderland (NTT )

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8Nathan Haas (Cofidis)

+09”

9Michael Storer (Team Sunweb)

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10Elia Viviani (Cofidis)

+10”

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