Stage 7) Nice - Valdeblore La Colmiane
France Saturday 13 March 2021 166.5 km
Paris-Nice: Bennett shows climbing legs in the break
La Colmiane (16.3km, 6.3%) made its third appearance in as many years at the French race, but this didn’t stop Sam Bennett from booking a place in the large breakaway group that took off in the opening kilometers of stage 7. Joined by teammate Mattia Cattaneo and 13 other riders, Sam delivered a solid ride and some proper entertainment, showing off his green jersey while bringing his fair share of work at the front and even going for the uphill finish in Tournefort.
Both Bennett and Cattaneo were active in the group, and even though the escapees weren’t allowed to extend their advantage over the two-minute mark, they didn’t spare any effort while at the front, despite the profile being a punishing one, with around 4000 meters of climbing packed in the 119 kilometers of the race’s queen stage. Their spell in the leading group came to an end of the early gradients of the final ascent, and the two climbed at their own pace until the end, where Sam – the active rider with the most stage victories in Paris-Nice – talked us through his day in the break.
“It was a good training, but at the same time I tried to do my best for Mattia. It’s not often I can give back to the guys, so when I have the opportunity, I’m happy to do it. With the flat stages behind, I have a carte blance, so I just tried to get us as far as possible on the last climb. I felt good and decided to go really deep in order to strengthen my condition and find my legs for the coming weeks, and at the end of the day, I think it was a pretty useful test. I’m quite content with how things went”, said the most successful sprinter of the season.
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