Sam Bennett won the 65th edition of the French classic Paris-Bourges. At his penultimate race of the season, the 24-year-old Irishman secured the fifth sprint win of the year. After 190 profiled kilometers, Bennett was able to accomplish the perfect lead-out of his team. In a top-notch field, he won ahead of Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek). On Sunday, Bennett will start at Paris-Tours – the traditional end of season in the European calendar.
After the initial phase of the race went smoothly, a duo attacked initially at the 40-km mark and another rider bridged. The field controlled the three riders in the lead and kept the distance constantly under four minutes. With 35 kilometers to go, there were attacks from the field and a group of six riders tried to chase the leading trio. But the peloton reacted and it neutralized the attack. Five kilometers before the finish the last attacker was caught and the sprinters’ teams launched their sprint trains. Sam Bennett was positioned perfectly and won.
Sam Bennett: “Coming into the finale it was pretty dangerous but the guys kept me in a good position on the last 10km. Then before the 1km-to-go banner Shane took over. From that point, he was on the front with me on his wheel. I thought it was too early but obviously he just had massive, massive power. He brought me till 250 meters. He did over 1km in front! And then I was able to accelerate from his wheel. It was a long sprint but it was great. I just want to thank the team for the massive support.
“Paris-Tours might be different, and longer for sure, but the win today definitely boosts the confidence. I didn’t really know how my legs were. But I could accelerate hard and hold it. The legs are good. So hopefully we can do something on Sunday”, Sam Bennett looks ahead to Paris-Tours.
Sport Director Andre Schulze: "A fantastic victory for Sam and the entire team. The guys brought Sam in a really good position on the last five kilometers, because it was a twisting finale and therefore the field was a long line. Shane used this race situation and he rode the last 1,000 meters completely from the front. He launched the sprint with maximum speed and he did a perfect lead-out down to the 250-meters-mark. Sam was able to accomplish this long lead-out. The whole team supported Sam very well today, because he’s in a great shape."