Sam Bennett takes victory after perfect lead-out on stage five of Paris-Nice
Sam Bennett was delivered to the line by his his Deceuninck – Quick-Step team-mates lead-out on stage five of Paris-Nice 2021
After a moderate pace throughout most of the stage due to stron headwinds, Primož Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) finished in the bunch to maintain his race lead with three stages remaining.
The fifth stage of a Paris-Nice was a return to centre stage for the sprinters after a tough day of climbing on stage four.
Raced over 200km from Vienne to Bollène near France’s Mediterranean coast, the stage was almost entirely downhill, as the peloton lost altitude over the opening 150km.
The first action on the stage finally opened up with around 70km to the line, as an ll-Belgian attack at the front of the bunch went clear.
All 11 Belgian riders, including Philippe Gilbert, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Victor Camenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos), pulled out a modest gap, but they were reeled back in quickly and with 67km to go.
Riders then continued their amble to the line, with Intermarché-Wanty-Gober Matériaux, Jumbo-Visma and EF Education-Nippo holding at the front of the bunch.
The pace remained sedate, but inside the final 40km, Tony Martin clipped a curb and tumbled to the floor, taking Roglic down with him.
Roglic was able to re-mount the bike and quickly re-join the bunch, but Martin came off worse and was forced to abandon the race.
Into the final 10km and teams finally started to look to the sprint finish, with Deceuninck – Quick-Step taking on the responsibility for setting the pace. Trek-Segafredo also took up the front along with Groupama-FDJ for Arnaud Demare.
But into the final 2km Deceuninck still had three riders in front of Bennett, with the Belgian squad overpowering the other sprint trains.
With 900m to go it was clear Deceuninck had opted for a traditional lead-out train to deliver Bennett to the line.
Bennett waited and waited on the wheel of his team-mate Michael Mørkøv, before finally launching his move just 150m from the line.
Despite a formidable surge from Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic), Bennett was already at full speed and would not be overcome, taking his second victory of this year’s race.
After his fall, Roglic finished safely in the bunch to hold the leader’s jersey for another day, while second place Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) was able to knock four seconds off his deficit thanks to bonus seconds out on the road.
VIDEO: 2021 Paris-Nice Live Stage 5 Highlights
2021 Paris-Nice Live Stage 5 Top 10
1 Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-QuickStep 05:16:01
2 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
3 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
4 Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
5 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Qhubeka Assos
6 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
7 Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
8 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
9 Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
10 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
2021 Paris-Nice GC after Stage 5
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 18:42:46
2 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:31
3 Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:37
4 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 00:00:40
5 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech 00:00:41
6 Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team 00:00:56
7 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM 00:01:04
8 Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Team BikeExchange 00:01:08
9 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 00:01:11
10 Pierre Latour (Fra) Total Direct Energie 00:01:12