Ireland’s Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) won the morning stage of the Criterium International on Saturday, giving him first victory of the 2016 season and the race leader’s yellow jersey in the three-stage, two-day race held around Porto Vecchio at the south of Corsica.
Bennett beat Rudy Barbier (Roubaix Lille Métropole) and Romain Feillu (HP BTP – Auber93) after a high-speed 90km of racing, with the sprinters catching the break of the stage within sight of the finish line. Ramunas Navardauskas (Cannondale) finished seventh in the sprint.
Bennett won the slightly rising sprint after his Bora-Argon teammates worked hard in the chase of the break to also ensure the German team celebrated its first win of the season.
“We had a really good meeting yesterday and everybody knew exactly what to do. The guys were committed 100% and everyone did a tremendous job,” he explained.
“There was a crash with 15km to go and I was at the back of the peloton afterwards but the team stayed together and brought me back up without panic. In the last little decent we made our move and hit the front, after the last corner I still had 3 guys to lead me out.”
“I launched my sprint pretty early with 250m to go slightly uphill, but I felt I had to make my move because the whole team prepared everything so well. I felt that I opened a little gap and I could hold it to the line.”
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