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Sam Bennett saw his first chance at the Tour de France slip through his fingers after losing a good position and getting boxed in

Sam Bennett cut a frustrated figure after 230km of racing, over 5½ hours, on Tour de France stage 3 into Torino on Monday. In an instant, what initially appeared to be a great chance in the final sprint became the road to nowhere as he got trapped behind his rivals.

A long dull stage saw a crash with 2km to go leave big gaps in the bunch. And though Bennett and the last of his Decathlon AG2R La Mondial lead-out managed to avoid the carnage, the final sprint was a strange one.

Rather than making the most of the full width of the road, the top sprinters became hemmed in tightly on the right side of the road. For the most part, they took out each others chances, though Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) had no such problems and claimed the stage win.

Bennett said he was very frustrated, especially as his team had done really well to put him into a very strong position just before the line. Though he might have opened his gallop early – with about 250m to go, when team mate Oliver Naesen pulled over – Bennett hesitated, drifted to his right and found his way blocked.

“There was quite a crash on the right, I think a Bahrain rider crashed really hard,” Bennett said of the late spill that split the field behind him and the other sprinters and their lead-out men.

““We were in a good position on the left, on the controlled side of the road, and the guys did a great job to keep me in front in the last 20 kilometres, but Oliver (Naesen) was incredible.

“He took off at 500 metres and I kept a little distance so I had room to take off at 200 metres, but I couldn’t make the sprint I wanted. To be honest it’s quite frustrating.

“After 230 kilometres and after being well positioned, I couldn’t open the gas. It’s frustrating because there are only seven more opportunities left.”

Though Bennett was annoyed to lose what was his first opportunity on his first Tour de France since his triumphant 2020 – when he won two stages and the green jersey – there was nothing but celebration for the other Irish rider in the race, Ben Healy.

His EF Education-EasyPost team has been chasing a stint in the yellow jersey for years and today they secured it. Richard Carapaz managed to stick in right behind the sprinters and placed 14th on the stage.

As he had started the day in 4th, but equal on time with the top four in general classification, he has taken the yellow jersey by virtue of today’s stage placing. He leads overall from Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Remco Evenepoel (Soudal QuickStep) and Jonas Vingegaard (Visma -Lease a Bike), who are all equal on time.

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