Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgroghe) powered to victory from a selection containing the likes of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), John Degenkolb (Trek) and Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) at the end of 190km of racing towards Chalon-sur-Saone.
8 Mar 2017 - 5:49 AM 

Kristoff was second and Degenkolb third while Arnaud Demare (FDJ) finished sixth to stay six seconds ahead of Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) ahead of the 14.5km individual time-trial from Beaujeu to Mont Brouilly.

Katusha and Quick-Step Floors lined up Kristoff and Kittel with one kilometre to go while Demare found himself blocked near the barriers as the 26-year-old Bennett seized his chance with 200 metres remaining to secure his first win of the season.

“I chased that first WorldTour win quite a while and I feel big relief now,” Bennett said. “ The boys did an awesome job. First Michael (Kolar) and Juraj (Sagan) brought me up and then with 500 to go Patrick came also from behind with lots of speed.

“I was able to jump on his wheel and with that momentum, I was perfectly placed with 300 to go. I launched my sprint at 200 metres and I always felt I could win. It is just a great feeling now to have that win under my belt.

“I suffered a lot last year in the Tour de France after my crash in the first stage, but I did hang on and rode all the way to Paris. To finish that Grand Tour I think brought me to another level.”

A break containing Romain Combaud (Delko Marseille Provence KTM), Pierre Latour (AG2R) and Ben King (Dimension Data) came close to battling out the victory. But after escaping at the first kilometre they were caught inside the last one.