Sam Bennett ‘super happy’ with Paris-Nice opener as opportunity arises
Sam Bennett will continue to develop this week after a strong recent performance at the UAE circuit, with the Paris-Nice event representing his second race of the season.
The lumpy profile of Sunday’s opening stage at Mantes la Ville did not take advantage of the strengths of Bennett and his Bora-hansgrohe teammate Ryan Mullen, with the Jumbo-Visma trio Christophe Laporte, Primoz Roglic and Wout Van Aert clearing into a close climb to the finish and finishing in that order. The Irish duo were in a group just over two minutes away.
However, Monday’s second leg in Orleans is much more likely to end in a bunch sprint and Mullen will do what he can to help Bennett contest the top spots.
“It was a classic Paris-Nice stage today, very difficult and very stressful,” said Bennett. “I’m super happy with the way we worked as a team during the stage. We were very well placed at the crucial points and the guys did a great job supporting me.
“In the end, I just didn’t have the legs on the final climb before the finish and I couldn’t follow. I’m certainly not 100% yet but I feel an improvement and that’s what I’m happy about today. Let’s see what the next few days have to offer.
Bennett has recorded a total of five stage wins in previous editions of the French event. He is still rebuilding his fitness after missing much of last season through injury, and recently said it will take him a few months to get back to full speed. However, he will be encouraged by his second and third places on the stages of the recent UAE Tour, and will be keen to gauge his form.
However, sprinters will likely only have one opportunity in the WorldTour event, as the stages after Monday are hillier.
In Croatia, the young Irish Archie Ryan (Jumbo-Visma Academy) and Darren Rafferty (Hagens Berman Axeon) solidly mounted the Porec Trophy on Sunday. It was their second race of the year and they finished 40th and 41st respectively, 17 seconds behind winner Dusan Rajovic (Team Corratec).
At home, Liam Curley (Technological University Dublin) won the Séamus Kennedy Memorial at Co Meath on Sunday. He triumphed over Dean Harvey (Spellman Dublin Port), who progressed very well through the junior ranks on Saturday, winning the Annaclone GP at Co Down.
Harvey’s winning move started with a push up a climb about six kilometers from the end and saw the 18-year-old loner come to the finish well clear of Darnell Moore (Team Caldwell Cycles).
In Kerry, Danny MacDonald (Burren Cycling Club) was best in a group sprint selected to win the Lacey Cup at Tralee ahead of Mark Shannon (Burren Cycling Club). At Co Meath on Saturday, Jason Kenny edged out UCD Cycling Club teammate Conor Murnane at the Mick Lally Memorial in Summerhill.
Stage 1, Mantes-La-Ville: 1 Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) 159.8 kilometers in 3:48.38, 2 P Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), 3 W Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) both at the same time, 4 P Latour (TotalEnergies) at 19 seconds, 5 M Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) at 22 sec.
Irish: 84 R Mullen (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 2.04, 85 S Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time.
General classification after stage 1: 1 Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) 3:48.28, 2 P Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) at 4 seconds, 3 W Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) at 6 seconds, 4 P Latour (TotalEnergies) at 29 seconds, 5 M Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 32 sec.
Irish: 85 R Mullen (Bora-Hansgrohe) 2.14, 86 S Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time.
Porec Trophy, Croatia (1.2): 1 Dusan Rajovic (Team Corratec) 155.5 kilometers in 3:28.15, 2 M Govekar (Tirol KTM Cycling Team), 3 V Potocki (Ljubljana Gusto Santic), 4 T Finkst (Adria Mobil), 5 S Flynn (Swiss Racing Academy ) all at the same time.
Irish: 40 A Ryan (Jumbo-Visma Academy) at 17 seconds, 41 D Rafferty (Hagens Berman Axeon) at the same time.
Grote Prijs Jean-Pierre Monseré, Belgium (1.1): 1 Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Soudal) 203.2 kilometers in 4:45.03, 2 D De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), 3 H Hofstetter (Arkea-Samsic), 4 G Thijssen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), 5 E Vernon (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) at the same time.
Irish: 49 R Townsend (Wiv Sungod) 2.01, 77 M Teggart (Wiv Sungod) 4.06, 102 C Mc Dunphy (Evopro Racing) 7.40. DNF: D Feeley (Evopro Racing).
Seamus Kennedy Memorial, Meath: 1 Liam Curley (Dublin University of Technology), 2 D Harvey (Spellman Dublin Port), 3 G O’Neill (Caldwell Cycles), 4 C McCann (Inspired Cycles), 5 T O’Regan (All Human Velo Revolution).
A2 not placed: 1 Ronan Grimes (Orwell Wheelers), 2 C Ibbotson (McNally Swords CC), 3 S Murnane (Orwell Wheelers), 4 R Geraghty (Spin11 Chainreaction), 5 F Keogh (Moynalty CC).
Women’s race: 1 Caoimhe O’Brien (Weston Homes Torelli Assure), 2 E McCrystal (Bellurgan Wheelers), 3 A O’Brien (Weston Homes Torelli Assure), 4 E Smith (Navan Road Club), 5 C Gallagher (UCD Cycling).
Unclassified Juniors: 1 Ellen Murray (TC Racing), 2 K Reilly (Orwell Wheelers).
Race A3: 1 Patrick O’Loughlin (Panduit Carrick Wheelers), 2 O Doogan (Caldwell Cycles), 3 A Gilsenan (CCC Centurino).
Unclassified Juniors: 1 Adam Rafferty (US Colombiers), 2 T Killeen (Orwell Wheelers).
A4 race: 1 Cormac Meegan (Drogheda Wheelers), 2 R Neary (Cuchulainn CC), 3 G Connolly (Bray Wheelers).
A4 unplaced: 1 Oisin Mulryne (Ardee CC).
Dublin Wheelers Open Races, Summerhill, County Meath: – A1-A2 Mick Lally Memorial: 1 Jason Kenny (UCD Cycling Club), 2 C Murnane (UCD Cycling Club), 3 T Regan (Seven Springs CC), 4 L Curley (Spellman Dublin Port), 5 T O’Regan (All human-VeloRevolution).
Memorial A3-Junior Liam Gallahar: 1 Adam Gilsenan (CC Canturino Team), 2 Q Donnelly (Usher Irish Road Club), 3 P O’Loughlin (Panduit Carrick Wheelers), 4 D O’Brien (Waterford Racing Team), 5 J Sheridan (St Tiernan’s CC).
A4 Willie Marks Memorial: 1 Brian McGrath (McNally Swords CC), 2 D McNab (Unattached), 3 C Considine (Bray Wheelers), 4 M Jones (Dublin Wheelers CC), 5 Z Power (Panduit Carrick Wheelers).
Annaclone GP, Co. Down – Race A1-A2-A3: 1 Dean Harvey (Spellman – Dublin Port), 2 D Moore (Team Caldwell Cycles), 3 O Doogan (Team Caldwell Cycles), 4 L Smith (Moynalty CC), 5 G O’Neill (Team Caldwell Cycles).
A2 in the lead: Dean Harvey (Spellman – Port of Dublin).
A3 in the lead: Odhrán Doogan (Team Caldwell Cycles).
A4 race/women: 1 Mark Hunter (Errigal Cycling Club), 2 N Doyle (TVR), 3 M Currie (Harps CC).
Main woman: Erin Grace Creighton (McConvey Cycles).
Lacey Cup, Tralee, Co Kerry – A1-A2-A3-Junior Round: 1 Danny MacDonald (Burren Cycling Club), 2 M Shannon (Burren Cycling Club), 3 T Regan (Seven Springs CC Loughrea), 4 T Moriarty (Tralee Manor West Bicycle Club), 5 S Gillman (Team Dan Morrissey Pactimo).
Main woman: Carthach McCarthy (Blarney Cycling Club).
Gleann na nGealt bonus: Sam Bolger (Killarney Cycling Club).
Sliabh Mish Prime (Teddy Griffin Cut): Conor Hennebry (Dan Morrissey Pactimo Team).
A4 race: 1 Mark McGlynn (Killarney Cycling Club), 2 Mario Gordillo Cortines (O’Leary Stone Kanturk), 3 Hugh McSweeney (Blarney Cycling Club).
Gleann na nGealt bonus: Mario Gordillo Cortines (O’Leary Stone Kanturk).