Deceuninck – Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team (France) - Press Release: Victory number three this season for Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s fast man.
Meet Sam. He loves France, riding his bike and winning. And when all these happen at the same time, then he’s over the moon. It was the case last year, when he donned Le Tour’s green jersey on the famed Champs-Élysées, and again on Sunday, not far from Paris, in Saint-Cyr-L’Ecole, where he took the glory at the end of a chaotic stage 1 of Paris-Nice.
On paper, the 165.8km opening day should have been a quiet one, but the attackers had other plans and as consequence they attacked in waves inside the last 40 kilometers, forcing the peloton to up the tempo and kick off a frantic chase that stretched out the bunch and put many riders in the red. Unsurprisingly, Tim Declercq played an important role once again, helping with the pursuit of the attackers, whose adventure was brought to a halt with eight kilometers to go, the mass gallop becoming inevitable at that point.
On the hectic uphill finish, Sam Bennett stayed in a perfect position until the last 200 meters, when he shot out of the pack at a ferocious speed and sprinted to victory with his hands on the top of his brake levers, putting several bike lengths between him and his opponents. It was the fourth win of the Carrick-on-Suir native in the “Race to the Sun”, after the ones of 2017 and 2019, one that brought him also two jerseys, yellow and green.
Photo credit: ©Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images.