Ireland’s Sam Bennett, riding for Deceuninck-Quick Step, earned his first one-day International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour victory today as he sprinted clear in the final stages of the 45th Classic Brugge-De Panne race.
Bennett’s closing speed was too much for Jasper Philipsen, of Alpecin-Fenix, and Pascal Ackermann of Bora-Hansgrohe, who finished second and third respectively.
"It's super important to get this win," Bennett told Cycling News.
"Being in a Belgian team with Belgian sponsors, we want to perform on home soil.
The men’s and women’s pelotons are heading for @bruggedepanne as the top sprinters look to shine 💥— UCI (@UCI_cycling) March 24, 2021
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“For myself, personally, it's my first one-day WorldTour race - something I've been chasing for many years and I'm happy to get it here today."
French champion Arnaud Démare, a potential sprint rival to Bennett, suffered an untimely mechanical fault at the crucial moment and finished outside the top 10.
Tomorrow will see the women’s race take place, with Jolien D’Hoore, of SD Worx, eager to make up for her experience in this event last year when she crossed the line first but was relegated for deviating from her line in the final sprint.
That gave victory to Lorena Wiebes, of Team DSM, who is also in the field.