Bennati claims Sarthe opener
Leopard Trek's Daniele Bennati took the opening stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe to finally claim his first victory of the season.
The Italian opened his account for his new team after a string of second place finishes since the start of the new campaign, most recently in Gent Wevelgem.
The sprinter edged Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) and Nacer Bouhanni (Francaise Des Jeux) at the end of the 191km stage between Le Chateau-d'Olonne and Saint-Mars-La-Jaille.
“With Davide (Vigano) pulling the sprint for me, I was third wheel in the last corner, 300 metres from the finish," said Bennati.
"When Davide moved to the side with 220 metres to go, I jumped. No one could follow me. It’s good to win like that. I give a big thanks to my team for this victory."
He added: "This win gives more importance to the second place I did last weekend in Wevelgem. With the Giro d’Italia coming in three weeks, this is a nice point to start."