Sam Bennett of Deceuninck-Quick Step produced a quite brilliant sprint to storm to victory on Stage 5 of Paris-Nice.
The Irishman came through in 5:16.01 with a perfectly-timed burst to pip Nacer Bouhanni and Pascal Ackermann in clinical fashion.
Primoz Roglic now holds an overall lead of 31 seconds over closest challenger Maximilian Schachmann as he kept a close hold on the yellow jersey.
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The 200.2km stage from Vienne to Bollene proved very demanding with Bennett both exhausted and relieved after he was able to clinch the win.
"The guys were incredible today," Bennett said after the win in his snap interview.
'The guys were incredible today' - Bennett delighted with Stage 5 win
"I was suffering today and it was a very hard climb. I didn't think I would hold it, but the guys did an incredible job.
"Some (riders) won't let me follow my own train for some reason, they don't concentrate on their own sprint.
"It was a very hard final, I didn't think I would hold it to the line but I'm proud I finished it off."
Stage winner Team Deceuninck rider Ireland's Sam Bennett celebrates on the podium at the end of the 5th stage of the 79th Paris - Nice cycling race, 200 km between Vienne and Bollene
Image credit: Getty Images
It was Deceuninck-QuickStep's 10th win of the season so far and Bennett's second in the race after he won the opening stage in style.
Roglic’s lieutenant Tony Martin suffered a fall with 35 kilometres remaining and was forced to abandon, just three days after team-mate George Bennett split his helmet in a big crash on Stage 2.
'Dear! Dear!' - Martin suffers nasty fall, forced to abandon
Organisers are planning to adapt the race’s finale after fresh Covid-19 restrictions were imposed.
The race will not get its traditional finale on Nice's Promenade des Anglais because it will be under a lockdown on Saturday and Sunday.
Highlights: Bennett claims stunning victory on Stage 5 with sprint
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