In his first race since his withdrawal from the Tour de France, Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) has shown that he’s back in form by taking third place on the opening stage of the Arctic Race of Norway. In the process, he also took the white jersey for the best young rider.
The opening stage of the race was based around Harstad over a distance of 210 kilometres, and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) took the win comfortably ahead of countryman Edvald Boassen Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka). Behind, Bennett narrowly edged out Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) and Michael van Staeyen (Cofidis) for third.
It was Kristoff’s 19th win in a great season for the Norwegian, who has also taken victory in the Tour of Flanders and Scheldeprijs.
The race continues tomorrow with a stage from Evenskjer to Setermoen over a distance of 155 kilometres. Despite five categorised climbs on the stage, it should offer another opportunity for the sprinters to take a win.
Following on from his illness during the Tour de France, today’s result shows that the Carrick rider has recovered well and will provide him with great confidence for the last few months of the season.