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Bennett beats Bouhanni and Degenkolb in Bayern

In a huge clash between the best sprinters, Bennett managed to beat Bouhanni and Degenkolb in a bunch sprint on the first stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt; the Irishman takes the first leader’s jersey

BAYERN-RUNDFAHRT 

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BORA-HANSGROHE

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JOHN DEGENKOLB

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NACER BOUHANNI

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SAM BENNETT

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13.05.2015 @ 18:23 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) confirmed that he is a sprint star in the making when he beat pre-race favourites Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) in the bunch sprint on the first stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt. Despite Giant-Alpecin delivering Degenkolb perfectly, the Irishman proved to be the fastest and will wear the yellow jersey in tomorrow’s second stage.

 

Last year Sam Bennett had an amazing first professional season where he took a couple of sprint wins. Riding for a German team, he took some of the most important ones in Germany as he won Rund um Köln and a stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt.

 

After his big win in the Tour of Qatar earlier this year, Bennett had already confirmed that he has the speed to beat the fastest sprinters in the world and so he was one of the three leading names for the sprints when the 2015 Bayern Rundfahrt started today. However, he faced tough opposition from Nacer Bouhanni and John Degenkolb whose palmares are amongst the best in the world.

 

Unsurprisingly, Bora-Argon 18, Cofidis and Giant-Alpecin combined forces to bring back a 6-rider break that dominated most of the very long 221km stage in Southern Germany. They always had everything under control and so it was no surprise that the final two survivors were brought back at the start of the final lap of the 19.6km finishing circuit.

 

The three big sprinters also had the three best lead-outs in the race and so those three trains fought hard in the final few kilometres. It briefly seemed as if Cofidis and Bora-Argon 18 had won the battle but iw was Giant-Alpecin that delivered Degenkolb perfectly.

 

However, Degenkolb turned out to be the slowest of the trio as he had to settle for third. Instead, Bennett shot ahead of pass the German and hold off Bouhanni who took second while the Irishman took another big win.

 

With the win, he also takes the first leader’s jersey and he goes into stage 2 with a 3-second advantage over Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) who was in the early break. He should get a chance to make it two in a row as the second stage has a rolling first part with two smaller climbs but a mostly flat finale should set the scene for another bunch sprint.

 

One for the sprinters

The 2015 Bayern Rundfahrt kicked off with a very long 221.3km stage that brought the riders from Regensburg to Waldsassen. The first part was lumpy and included two smaller climbs but the second half was mostly flat. In the end, the riders did two laps of a slightly rolling 19.6km finishing circuit.

 

The riders had reasonable weather conditions when they gathered for the start and they got it all off to an animated beginning. In the early part of the race, there were lots of attacks and it took time for the early break to be formed

 

The break is formed

Benjamin Edmüller (Heizomat) and Jonas Koch (Rad-net) were the first to get a small advantage and they were joined by Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Louis Meintjes (MTN), Rodolfo Torres (Colombia) and Johannes Weber (SGT) after 9km of racing. At this point, Stölting were leading the peloton which had been distanced by 27 seconds.

 

The escapees had to work hard to extend their advantage but when the peloton slowed down, it started to grow quickly. At the 14km mark, it was already 3.00 but the peloton was not willing to given them too much of an advantage.

 

KOM points for Torres

Koch beat Vorganov and Weber in the first intermediate sprint. Meanwhile, the gap went out to 4.20 at the 35km mark. For a while it was kept stable between the 4- and 5-minute marks.

 

At the 78km mark, Torres beat Meintjes and Vorganov in the first KOM sprint and here Edmüller was briefly distanced. However, he made it back to the leader who had an advantage of 4.40 at the 100km mark.

 

The chase gets organized

A small crash briefly split the field but it soon came back together. At this point, Bora-Argon 18 and Cofidis had started to chase. At the 123km mark, the gap had been reduced to 3.50.

 

Koch was again the fastest in the second sprint where he beat Vorganov and Koch. Meanwhile, the situation had changed in the peloton as it was now Giant-Alpecin, Cannondale and Stölting working on the front.

 

The break splits up

On the second climb, Torres and Meintjes attacked and it was the Colombian who beat the South African in the sprint while Vorganov took third. The Russian joined them on descent while Edmüller was completely distanced.

 

Koch and Weber did their best to rejoined the front trio but they never made it back. At the same time, the eploton was losing ground as the gap went out from 2.50 to 3.30.

 

The gap comes down

Cofidis and Giant-Alpecin were now trading pulls on the front of the peloton that quicklu caught Edmüller. Moments later, Koch and Weber were also back in the fold.

 

At the 165km mark, the gap was still 3.40 but now the gap was coming down fast. At the 180km mark, it was 2.20.

 

The break is caught

Bora-Argon 18 were working with Cofidis and Giant-Alpecin as they started the first lap of the finishing circuit with a 2-minute deficit. Meintjes decided to sit up and he was brought back with 28km to go.

 

Bora and Giant were setting the pace but the escapees managed to stay clear to contest the final intermediate sprint where Vorganov beat Torres. Koch sprinted form the peloton to take third.

 

With 19km to go, the break was caught and Giant and Bora remained on the front. 3 riders briefly managed to attack but they were brought back in time for the sprint to unfold. Cofidis took control but Bora-Argon went head to head with them. In the end, Giant-Alpecin led Degenkolb out but it was Bennett who took the win.

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