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Sam Bennett wins Tour of Slovenia opener

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Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) won a bunch sprint to bag the first stage and the overall lead at the Tour of Slovenia after overtaking Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida) right on the line.

Three flat stages and one mountain top finish are the steps to take for glory in the Tour of Slovenia. Today’s opener was one of the flat stages, over 159.4 kilometers between Koper and Kocevje, with an expected bunch sprint.

It took several attacks in the beginning of the stage, before a group of 9 riders went away from the peloton on the first climb of the day. With sprinters in the bunch like Cavendish, Colbrelli and Sam Bennett, it was clear that the bunch would react early enough to control todays’ breakaway.

After the gap increased to about 4 minutes, the sprinter teams started to wind up the pace and gradually cut the advantage of the leading group.

Going into the last 20k, the gap of the leaders was already under one minute, and all was set for a bunch sprint. The last breakaway rider was caught with 7k to go, as the lead-out trains started to organize the final.

Bora– hansgrohe hit the front with one kilometer to go. Pöstlberger and Selig opened the sprint for Sam Bennett, who finished off a strong lead-out with a superb win in Kocevje, which also means the overall lead in the race after day one.

The final sprint was marred by a heavy crash as several riders hit the right fence shortly before the arrival. Jacques Janse van Rensburg of Dimension Data and Davide Orrico of Sangemini-MG.K VIS appeared to be the most seriously affected in the crash.

“We controlled the race the whole day with Alex pulling together with the other sprinter teams. Because the day was easy in the bunch, the final on the last two laps was especially fast. We lost each other a little with 4k to go, but Rafa brought as back up. When we hit the front on the last k, Pösti and Rudi delivered me so fast, I just had to hold the speed to the line. It was a great win after a strong team work. I still feel a little tired after the Giro, but the speed is also still in my legs”, said Sam Bennett.


Tour of Slovenia 2017 – stage 1 results (Koper – Kocevje):

1 Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe)

4:36:03

2 Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida)

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3 Luka Mezgec (Orica-Scott)

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4 Roberto Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates)

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5 Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini)

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6 Marko Pavlic (Slovenia)

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7 Dusan Rajovic (Adria Mobil)

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8 Andrea Palini (Androni Giocattoli)

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9 Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)

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10 Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)

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