BRIGNOLES – Irish sprinter Sam Bennett of the Bora-Hansgrohe team pulled off a last-gasp burst for the line to clinch stage six of Paris-Nice on Friday, his second win on the eight day cycling race.
Team Sky’s powerful Michal Kwiatkowski kept hold of the yellow jersey ahead of Saturday’s potentially decisive mountain stage at the Col du Turini in the hills near Nice.
Bennett looked to have left it too late in a reduced group who finished ahead of the peloton as French sprinter Arnaud Demare made the early run for the line.
But Bennett unleashed an impressive last 100m dash to pip him at the line, with Italy’s Matteo Trentin a close third.
The 28-year-old Belgium born Irishman also won Tuesday’s racing after making a name for himself last season with three stage wins on the Giro D’Italia.
Saturday’s penultimate stage embarks from Nice and ends atop the Col de Turini after a near 15km climb at 7.3 percent gradient.
Team Sky are in pole position to win the tour with Kwiatkowski leading and their Colombian prodigy Egan Bernal just 18 seconds adrift, with other potential winners being Nairo Quintana and Romain Bardet needing to take at least a minute off them on the final climb.
💚 Un Irlandais en vert ! 🍀@Sammmy_Be s'impose au sprint et prend la tête du classement par points parrainé par @WeLoveCyclingFR. 💚— Paris-Nice (@ParisNice) March 15, 2019
💚 An Irishman in green! 🍀@Sammmy_Be wins the sprint in Brignoles and takes the green jersey powered by Skoda. 💚#ParisNice pic.twitter.com/VMxDNTPtCp