Stage 3 at Paris-Nice provided another chance for the sprinters, and Bora-Hansgrohe’s Sam Bennett made the most of his opportunity on Wednesday, out-kicking a world-class field to win the stage in Chalon-sur-Saône ahead of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors).
The day got underway with a three-rider break that included Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale), Ben King (Dimension Data) and Romain Combaud (Delko-Marseille) sneaking away within the first couple of kilometres. The trio cooperated well and stretched their advantage to seven minutes before the FDJ team of race leader Arnaud Demare came to the fore and started taking back large chunks of time.
The lead trio’s gap was down to just 1:30 with 30km remaining, and King was jettisoned from the group on the category 2 climb of Côte de Charrecey. Latour and Combaud combined their strengths to put up a fierce battle for survival in the lead, but their efforts succumbed to the chase as they passed under the flamme rouge. From there, it was a mad dash to the line, with Kittel jumping first and Bennett coming around the big German before the line.