Getty Images

Bennett takes another stage win as Team Sky take top two in Paris-Nice general classification

Bennett takes another stage win as Team Sky take top two in Paris-Nice general classification
By Eurosport

16/03/2019 at 03:00Updated 16/03/2019 at 03:19

Sam Bennett produced a brilliant finish to edge out Arnaud Demare in Stage Six of Paris-Nice on Friday.

The Bora-Hansgrohe sprinter looked to be boxed in as he approached the line, but lunged through a gap to slingshot past Demare and deny the Frenchman the stag victory.

"I thought the gap nearly closed on me in the final, but it opened again and I was able to kick really hard," Bennett said. "I was really happy and I just want to thank the team again.

"I've been working really hard this winter with my first target being Milan-San Remo, so everything's on track."

Bennett's brilliant finish underlined his sensational form, making it two stage wins in the race for the Irishman and leading for calls for his team to shake up his season's plans.

Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski retained his overall lead, with team-mate Egan Bernal the closest challenger at just 18 seconds back. However, it wasn't a simple day in the saddle for the Sky pair, who had to mark multiple attacks from Astana's Luis Leon Sanchez, who is third and 22 seconds off the lead after six stages.

"That was a really hectic stage," leader Kwiatkowski told reporters after the stage. "Straight from the start, there were some attacks in the crosswinds, and the bunch was really nervous throughout the whole stage. Then of course when you've got riders like Matteo Trentin and all the strong sprinters in the race, they want to dig deep in the climbs and drop the other ones," the race leader said.

"We had some really technical descents, and the bunch was splitting all over the place and there were plenty of crashes.

"I was hoping for an easier day, in terms of even sprinting in the bonuses. (Sanchez) went crazy for those three seconds, but I was trying to stay on his wheel on the last one and I was able to out-sprint him for those three seconds. So I'm happy for another three seconds, but tomorrow it will be way harder to gain or lose those seconds."

Paris-Nice concludes on Sunday.