Sam Bennett (BORA – hansgrohe) showed that he is in good form ahead of the Giro d’Italia as he found himself in a select group sprinting for the win today at Eschborn-Frankfurt.
The Irishman went into the final corner on the wheel of Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors). But when the Colombian misjudged the corner, Bennett had to open his sprint way too early. In the end, Bennett took seventh place, while Alexander Kristoff (Katusha Alpecin) secured his fourth win at the race.
After a frantic start and a flurry of attacks, seven riders escaped finally from the bunch after about 20 kilometers. Alex Saramotins represented BORA – hansgrohe in the breakaway to control the race from the beginning for the German squad.
Entering the first climb of the day, the Feldberg, the escapees enjoyed a five-minute lead over the peloton, led by Team Sunweb. On the second time up the Mammolshainer climb, BORA – hansgrohe’s Emanuel Buchmann increased the pace in the bunch significantly, to put some pressure on the sprinters in the peloton. But it was Buchmann’s team-mate Gregor Mühlberger who went up the road in a group of three, to bridge across to the leaders and after several attacks from the peloton, another group, including Buchmann, joined the race leaders, while some riders of the early break were dropped.
With 45 kilometres to go, eight riders were in front and coming in towards the finish in Frankfurt, there was another split in the leading group. The remaining four leaders including Buchmann gave it everything to prevent a diminished bunch from catching up, but with 4 kilometres remaining, they were finally reeled in.
Bennett held his position at the front of this small group heading towards the sprint finish and he went on the wheel of Gaviria in the last 500 metres, but when the Colombian misjudged the last corner, Sam had to open his sprint way too early and had to settle for seventh.
Sam Bennett – “I desperately wanted to finish off this inspiring team effort today, but it was difficult in the end as nobody had a lead-out train there. I caught the wheel of Gaviria and thought this looks really good for me. But then he misjudged the corner and I was at the front with 350m to go. If I wouldn’t have had to break as well, I think I still could have made it. But I missed too much speed from the corner, and when I realized that I was really disappointed. But my legs where brilliant today and that gives me a lot of confidence ahead of the Giro.”