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Ireland's Sam Bennett lands Paris-Nice stage win

Irishman Sam Bennett took victory on stage three of Paris-Nice for his first WorldTour victory.

The 26-year-old Bora-Hansgrohe rider held off some of the world's best sprinters to win ahead of Katusha-Alpecin's Norwegian Alexander Kristoff and German John Degenkolb of Trek-Segafredo.

Quick-Step Floors' Marcel Kittel looked the favourite going into the final metres of the 190km stage from Chablis to Chalon-sur-Saone, but it was Bennett who burst forward as the German settled for fourth.

"I had a lot of confidence coming into this just from the feeling in my legs," Bennett said on Eurosport. "I've had good form recently, at the Tour Down Under I had the speed but I didn't get the opportunities.

"I knew with a bit of luck today and the support of my team something was possible."

To emphasise the depth of the sprinting field in this race, Australian Michael Matthews finished fifth for Team Sunweb, with Andre Greipel seventh for Lotto Soudal.

Bennett is the first Irishman to win a stage of Paris-Nice, known as the 'Race to the Sun', since Stephen Roche in 1989. Sean Kelly was the overall winner in seven consecutive editions from 1982 to 1988.

FDJ's Arnaud Demare finished sixth to retain the overall lead by six seconds from fellow Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe of Quick-Step Floors.

Alaphilippe's Irish team-mate Dan Martin is well placed in the general classification in ninth place, 23 seconds back, the same time as Team Sky's Sergio Henao.

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