Sam Bennett produced a powerful sprint finish to win Brugge-De Panne and claim the first one-day WorldTour victory of his career.
Led out expertly by his Deceuninck-QuickStep team-mates, Bennett pulled clear with 200m remaining and comfortably beat Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin–Fenix) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora–Hansgrohe)
It was another reminder of Bennett’s quality as he claimed his fifth sprint win of the season.
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"For me, it’s super important to get this win," said Bennett. "Especially being in a Belgian team with Belgian sponsors. We’re on home soil and we wanted to perform. For myself personally, it’s my first one-day WorldTour win. It’s something I’ve been chasing for many years and I’m very happy to get it here today.
'A super important win' - Bennett enjoys Brugge-De Panne victory
"He [Philipsen] jumped early but I could feel a bit of a headwind so I decided to wait longer and then go. I don’t focus on anyone else, I just do my own sprint."
The first race in the Belgian spring Classics, Brugge-De Panne is 203.9km in distance and features a circuit around De Panne and Veurne that is ridden three times, as well as strong winds from the North Sea that have the potential to split the peloton.
An early breakaway managed to open up a four-minute advantage, but they were slowly reeled in and brought back to the peloton with 76km remaining.
Davide Martinelli (Astana) and Lluis Mas (Movistar) attacked with 30km to go but couldn’t get away, with Mas berating his breakaway companion for not doing his share of work on the front.
With the winds not doing much damage, Lotto Soudal’s Brent Van Moer was the next to make a move and opened a 15-second gap.
But he was caught and the peloton came together for the final run on the coastal road.
Deceuninck-QuickStep led out Bennett perfectly down the long home straight and he sprinted to victory.
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