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Paris-Nice stage 5: Sam Bennett takes sprint win on perfect leadout, Primož Roglič retains overall lead

Jumbo-Visma workhorse Tony Martin abandons after crashing inside of 40km to go.

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Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) won the sprint on stage 5 of the 2021 Paris-Nice on a perfect leadout by Michael Mørkøv.

While other teams tried to interrupt the “Wolfpack” sprint train, they were unsuccessful, and Bennett took his second win in this year’s “Race to the Sun.”

“I wanted to redo myself today. I was very happy of the first sprint on Sunday, but very disappointed with the second, we had not succeeded to be found,” Bennett commented. “This time everything went perfectly. I knew the
final would be hard, I wasn’t sure I would hold out until the end. I saw that the others were fighting to take my wheel in the sprint.”

Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) retained his overall lead, but will feel pressure in the final stages without his superdomestique Tony Martin.

Martin crashed with 38km to go, when the pace increased as the bunch came into a technical section which included concrete separations and high curbing in the road. Roglič also took a spill but appeared to be unaffected, and was quickly back into the race.

While the “Panzerwagen” was back on his bike immediately following the tumble, he quickly dismounted and had to be attended to by the race medic, who was seen administering the UCI-required concussion protocol.

American Brandon McNulty (UAE-Team Emirates), wearing the white jersey of best young rider, finished safely in the bunch to remain third on GC, at 37 seconds back of Roglič. Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) finished 19th in the pack, and remains sixth overall at 58 seconds adrift.

How it happened

A piano pace was the order of the day until 72km to go when an 11-man break made an attempt to get away. This came to naught 6km later when they were brought back.

The pace settled back down until 38km to go when the entire group accelerated. While Jumbo-Visma was near the front, the road narrowed, and the yellow and black of the Dutch team was forced to the far right side of the road. Martin and Roglič went down, but only Roglič was able to ride away.

“Luckily everything is fine [despite the fall]. It’s just unfortunate cause Tony [Martin] is no longer with us,” Roglič said.

Not wanting for the race leader, the peloton sped away forcing Roglič and his teammates to work to get back on.

The pace again settled back down until a short acceleration for the intermediate sprint at 16km to go. After the acceleration, the pace once-again settled slightly, even as though sprinters’ teams came to the front at 15km to go.

In the final 7km Trek-Segafredo and Deceuninck-Quick-Step did the pacemaking with help from Bora-Hansgrohe.

The final 3km forced the riders to navigate small roads, turns, roundabouts, and road furniture.

Michael Mørkøv (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) had Bennett on his wheel and they were shadowed by 2019 world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo).

Arnaud Démare was escroted to the front by Groupama-FDJ, but were not as aggressive as the “Wolfpack.” While Bennett was momentarily distanced on the left side of the road, he quickly got back into formation.

In the final kilometer, Mørkøv rode a calm and extremely high-speed pace to deliver Bennett to within 300 meters, where the Irishman in the green jersey of the points competition took over to win the stage.

What’s next

Stage 6 will take the peloton through the Alpes Maritimes region with a series of climbs halfway through the route.

Look for things to heat up for the race leader Primož Roglič, who tore the legs off all competitors in the final climb on stage 4.

2021 Paris-Nice stage 6. Photo: Courtesy Paris-Nice

Full report and results to follow.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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