Sam Bennett pulled out of Paris-Nice during today’s tough 181.5-kilometre penultimate stage from Nice to the Col de Turini in order to recover for next weekend’s Milan-San Remo.
According to his BORA-hansgrohe team, the Irish sprinter “felt tired after an intense week of racing, and with his focus towards Milano – Sanremo, recovery will be key for him.”
Bennett wasn’t the only sprinter to withdraw from the race as Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimension Data) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) did not start today’s stage.
The Irish rider enjoyed a successful race having taken two stage wins in addition to taking over the points jersey prior to the penultimate stage, which was won by Dani Martinez (EF Education First).
Bennett is now considered amongst the favourites for the race but will face still face competition from sprinters including Elia Viviani (Deceuninck Quick Step), Caleb Ewan, Alexander Kristoff and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) with team-mate Peter Sagan also expected to be in contention. Other previous winners set to line up in addition to Kristoff and who will also fancy their chances are Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ).
Amongst the riders who could be expected to be to the fore on the final climb of the day – the Poggio – are Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck Quick Step), Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team).