World news – Sam Bennett makes the perfect start to Paris-Nice with victory in the opening phase

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Sam Bennett from Ireland, wearing the yellow jersey of the overall leader, celebrates on the podium after completing the first leg of the Paris Nice cycle race over 166 kilometers with start and finish in Saint-Cyr-l’Ecole outside Paris won on Sunday, March 7th, 2021. (AP Photo / Christophe Ena)

Sam Bennett had perfectly matched his late attack as the Irish cyclist conquered the opening stage of the Paris-Nice race.

Bennett put the yellow trip for the week-long race after he had prevailed against Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and the former world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), who finished second and third.

Bennett is the first Irishman to who has been wearing the yellow jersey since Sean Kelly and was the first to cross the finish line in Saint-Cyr-l’École after the 166 km stage.

« It’s tough all day at the European races. Today was a test to see how the legs were.

« We were only two kilos ometer ahead of the finish line. We panicked, but the whole team did a great job. I was pretty happy with the kick I got. I felt pretty strong. « 

Bennett has been a strong form runner lately, having recently won two stages in the Tour of the UAE.

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