Daniele Bennati takes Wallonie stage three sprint
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Daniele Bennati takes Wallonie stage three sprint

by Ben Atkins at 12:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Joost Van Leijen takes race lead with intermediate time bonuses

daniele benattiDaniele Bennati (Leopard Trek) continues his comeback from the broken collarbone that forced him to miss the Giro d’Italia with victory in the third stage of the Tour de Wallonie between Sambreville and Perwez. The Italian cruised to victory ahead of compatriot Danilo Napolitano (Acqua & Sapone) and Alexander Kristoff (BMC Racing) at the end of the predominantly flat 224.4km stage.

“The team was excellent today,” said Bennati. “They did a a really good job. They were in complete control during the final kilometres and set me up perfectly for the win. It’s an important victory for me and my teammates.”

The stage was dominated by a long three-man breakaway after Andy Cappelle (Quick Step) and Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) escaped after seven kilometres, and were joined by Jurgen Van Goolen (Verandas Willems-Accent).

At he top of the Côte de Beaumont, the first climb of the day after 74km, the trio’s lead had been stretched to 5’14”. This was as wide as it was to grow though, as the BMC Racing Team of race leader Greg Van Avermaet took control of the front of the peloton.

After 125km, with 99km remaining, the gap had reduced to 3’28”, where it stabilised until BMC Racing accelerated again with 65km to go.

With 50km to go, the lead was down to just 2’10” and, with 36km to go as it dropped below two minutes, Van Goolen attacked the other two and tried to go alone. Jacobs managed to chase him down, but Capelle could not and drifted back to the peloton, where he was reabsorbed with 30km to go.

Under the 20km to go banner the two riders’ lead was down to 30 seconds, and it was all over three kilometres later. Just as the peloton was upon them though Van Avermaet sprinted out of the front of the bunch, sprinting for the final intermediate sprint of the day. He had stage two winner Joost Van Leijen (Vacansoleil-DCM) right on his wheel though, and the Dutchman came around to take the three bonus seconds.

Van Avermaet collected two seconds for second place but, because the two riders were tied on time after the previous stage, it meant that Van Leijin would take the yellow jersey unless the BMC Racing rider could pick up a further bonus at the finish line.

Immediately after the sprint there was a counter attack from Dirk Bellemakers (Landbouwkrediet), but he could only manage a few kilometres ahead of the peloton before being recaptured. Almost as soon as Bellamakers was back in the fold David Le Lay (AG2R La Mondiale) had a go himself, but the Frenchman had no more success and it was all together with 9km to go.

Leopard Trek, Katusha and Acquq & Sapone vied for the front of the peloton as the finish line approached but, into the final kilometres, it was the Luxembourg team for Bennati that had the ascendancy.

The Italian opened up his sprint and the others were unable to get close to him. Van Avermaet could only manage fifth and so received no bonus on the line; consequently Van Leijen took the race lead by a slender one second margin.

Result stage 3
1. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Leopard Trek
2. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team
4. Greg Henderson (NZl) Team Sky
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
6. Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano
7. Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM
8. Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis
9. Nikolai Trusov (Rus) Katusha
10. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles-Crédit Agricole

Standings after stage 3
1. Joost Van Leijen (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team @ 1s
3. Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack @ 13s
4. Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM @ 17s
5. Edwig Cammaerts (Bel) Landbouwkrediet

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