Sam Bennett and Dylan Groenewegen were both relegated for sprint deviations in the final 100 metres of the Critérium du Dauphiné’s stage 3.
Bennett originally finished second behind race leader Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma), with Groenewegen third, but both riders have since been relegated to 33rd and 34th, respectively. UAE Team Emirates’ Matteo Trentin now moves up to second on the stage with third going to Milan Menten (Lotto DSTNY).
Bennett’s Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Danny van Poppel had been leading the sprint finish out in the final few hundred metres, with Bennett on his wheel and Matevž Govekar (Bahrain Victorious) behind him, then followed by Groenewegen and Laporte.
Bennett then launched his sprint and surged to the right, covering Groenewegen’s line, the Dutchman then trying to move left and finding Govekar in the way, the Bahrain-Victorious rider then getting squeezed by an onrushing Groenewegen and Laporte and just about managing to hold it upright.
Groenewegen was left to gesture at Bennett as the Irishman threw his bike at the line but Laporte, who had been given a clear run to the line after Bennett’s move, had managed to overhaul him and nab his second stage win of the race so far.
With the following five days unsuited to the pure sprinters, this was Bennett and Groenewegen’s sole chance for a stage win this race as they prepare for the upcoming Tour de France. Groenewegen had some thoughts about his fate:
“Normally I’m not fast enough to beat guys like Sam Bennett and Dylan Groenewegen. However, Groenewegen was hindered and I managed to dive into the right gap,” Laporte said after the finish.
“At 500 meters from the finish I actually thought it was impossible to win. In the end I get it anyway, so it’s an extra nice day. I did not see this victory coming, but of course I am very happy with it. A perfect lead-out was not really necessary today. Turning it off was actually enough. We initially wanted to protect Jonas [Vingegaard]. If I succeeded, I would get my chance in the final.”
Laporte now leads Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) by 11 seconds in the general classification and most of the overall contenders by 23 seconds. He will face a challenge to retain the jersey in tomorrow’s up and down time trial.
What did you think of this story?