Adelaide: Sam Bennett won a tight sprint finish ahead of UAE Team Emirates’ Jasper Philipsen to take the Tour Down Under’s first stage on Tuesday in a quick early return for his new Deceuninck-QuickStep team.
The Irish national champion swept home in the final moments of the 150-kilometre stage to cross half a bike ahead of Belgium’s Philipsen.
“I’d be lying if I’d said I didn’t feel the pressure to get that first win,” said Bennett, the first Irishman to lead the Tour Down Under general classification.
Philipsen was the only rider to challenge Bennett and almost pulled off the win at the line in Tanunda, northeast of Adelaide.
Slovakia’s Erik Baska was third for Bora-Hansgrohe at the UCI World Tour season-opener.