Sam Bennett (BORA- hansgrohe) sprinted to his seventh victory of the season on the third stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné today. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Davide Ballerini (Astana Pro Team) rounded out the podium.
After two demanding stages, today’s 177-kilometre stage from Le Puy-en-Velay to Riom stage was suited to the sprinters as the riders only faced four category four climbs. Right after the flag dropped, two riders – Natnael Berhane (Cofidis) and Quentin Pacher (Vital Concept-B&B Hôtels) – launched an attack and were gone for most of the stage.
The leading duo gained a maximum lead of 4’05”, while Giro d’ Italia stage winner Cesare Benedetti (BORA – hansgrohe) pulled at the front of the peloton. The gap came down to nearly one minute with 46 kilometres remaining, and with BORA – hansgrohe controlling the pace the advantage dropped steadily.
16 kilometres before the finish, the peloton closed the gap and everything was set for the expected bunch sprint. As the race headed into the final kilometres, the sprinter teams started their lead-out. The BORA- hansgrohe train led their sprinter Sam Bennett perfectly, especially Shane Archbold, who did a stellar job to open the sprint and launch his captain perfectly to the line. After a masterful sprint, Bennett had time to celebrate his first ever stage victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) retained the overall lead ahead of the 26.1km individual time trial in Roanne. The Belgian leads Guillaume Martin (Wanty – Gobert Cycling Team) by 3″ with Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) in third overall at 20″.
Sam Bennett – “I am super happy to take the win today. It’s certainly not just my victory, the team rode absolutely amazing today and the support I got is what made that win look so easy! Therefore, a huge thanks to the whole team for the effort. Let’s hope the legs are still good for stage 5 in two days.”