Video: Sam Bennett misses out on big chance at Milan-Sanremo

Posted on: March 23rd, 2019

Sam Bennett went into Milan-Sanremo with his best chance ever, thanks to the form he has shown since the start of the road racing season. However, while he wasn’t too far off being in contention, the sprint for victory took place ahead of him. A 10-man escape group was led home, above, by race winner Julian Alaphilippe.

 

Sam Bennett has been forced to settle for the minor placings at Milan-Sanremo, just 27 seconds behind the sprint for victory.

Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) finished in the same group as Bennett. Irish champion Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) also finished the race, in 135th place.

When the leading men forged clear over the Poggio late in the contest, it looked like some of those behind may get back on terms.

Sam Bennett was in a large group that was never too far behind what ended up an 11-man all-star escape group.

But despite some stalls up front raising hopes the race just might regroup a little, that stalling didn’t last long.

As a result, Sam Bennett’s group did not catch the leaders, who survived all the way to fight it out; Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) winning.

And less than 30 seconds later, after 291km of racing, Irishman Bennett finished in a large group, claiming 28th on the day.

 

 

Race winner Alaphilippe had done much of the work to drag the breakaway clear across the top of the climb.

At the finish he proved best in the sprint, winning the race at Via Roma from Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky).

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) was next, followed by Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) rounding out the top six.

Then came world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida).

In 9th and 10th were Simon Clarke (EF Education First) and European champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott).

Eight of the eleven leaders went clear of the rest on the upper slopes of the Poggio. Clarke and Nibali then got across.

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) also caught the group at the death, but went south in the sprint and finished in 11th position three seconds back.

His team mate Michael Matthews was next another five seconds in arrears, though he never caught the breakaway.

Then came Daniel Oss (Bora-hansgrohe) in 13th place at 24 seconds. And just three seconds after him, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) led home the 40-man group Sam Bennett was in.

The Irish rider placed 28th on the day, his best ever placing in Milan-Sanremo but far from the victory had had been hoping for.

He went into the race with four wins to his name already this season. And having won two stages at Paris-Nice the week before last he said he felt on course for an assault on Milan-Sanremo.

In the end, the pressure up the Poggio was too much for the sprinters, with a breakaway comprised of many of the world’s best escaping the clutches of the peloton as it disintegrated.

Bennett’s fellow Irish riders also put in solid rides today; Roche 46th in the same time as Sam Bennett and Dunne 135th at 10:18.

 

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