Bennett aces Tour Down Under 1st stage; 2nd place for Team Emirates - GulfToday

Bennett aces Tour Down Under 1st stage; 2nd place for Team Emirates


Irish rider Sam Bennett from team Deceuninck - Quick Step wins stage one of the Tour Down Under UCI World Tour in Adelaide on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse

Belgium’s Jasper Philipsen -- riding for UAE Team Emirates -- got his season off to a promising start with a close second place on Stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under. Philipsen was the only rider to challenge Sam Bennett of Deceunick-Quickstep, and almost pulled off the win at the line in Tanunda, northeast of Adelaide.

A chaotic run-in to the line saw no team able to establish control at the front of the peloton. Other teams came forward and failed but Philipsen opened his sprint up early from the right-hand side and had a good lead. However, the speed was frantic behind and the Belgian was just edged out by half a wheel by Bennett on the line.

Philipsen said: “I launched my sprint quite early and pulled out a good advantage but felt the other sprinters coming back as we reached the line. I did everything I could. We have a great team here and they did a nice job to get me in the right position for the finish. We will aim for more over the next few stages.”

At just 21 years old, Jasper Philipsen will also pull on the white jersey for stage 2 as the Tour’s best young rider. The jersey is awarded at the end of each stage, and the race, to the best rider under 25 who leads the Youth Classification with the best cumulative time.

Slovakia’s Erik Baska was third for Bora-Hansgrohe at the UCI World Tour season-opener.

Last year’s opening stage winner Elia Viviani was fourth for Cofidis, ahead of former winner Andre Greipel of Israel Start-Up Nation.

South African Daryl Impey, chasing a third straight victory in Australia, was seven seconds behind Bennett in the general classification.

Bennett’s teammates Iljo Keisse and Michael Morkov took to the front of the peloton to guide the Irishman to the head of the pack and clinch his victory.

“I’d be lying if I’d said I didn’t feel the pressure to get that first win,” said Bennett, the first Irishman to lead the Tour Down Under general classification.

“I am very happy it came today, on the very first stage of the season’s first race, and I can’t thank my incredible teammates enough, because the result is down to their amazing effort.”

Stages two and three will take teams and spectators through areas where properties were destroyed in the blazes, which also killed one person and injured others.


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