Sam Bennett forced to abandon Paris-Nice with hand injury

Denmark’s Anderson wins time-trial but Germany’s Schachmann leads overall

Although Sam Bennett had intended carrying on in Paris-Nice after his big crash on Tuesday, the Carrick-on-Suir rider was forced to withdraw from the race prior to Wednesday's fourth stage. Bennett had damaged his right hand when he fell close to the finish line on Tuesday. He received four stitches and believed he would be able to continue, but was unable to do so.

According to an official with his Deceuninck-QuickStep team, Bennett was unable to move his fingers properly when he awoke on Wednesday. The decision to pull out of the race will be a big disappointment to him, but being cleared of any fractures on Tuesday will give him optimism that he can return to training soon.

Ryan Mullen was consequently the only Irish competitor in Wednesday’s time trial. He finished back in 101st place, two minutes and 12 seconds behind the Danish winner Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb). The German rider Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished six seconds back in second place and leads Andersen by 58 seconds overall.

Paris-Nice, France (WorldTour)

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Stage 4, Saint-Amand-Montrond to Saint-Amand-Montrond: 1, Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) 15.1 kilometres in 18 mins 51 secs; 2, M. Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 6 secs; 3, K. Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quickstep) at 12 secs; 4, T. De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) at 13 secs; 5, P. Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren) at 15 secs Irish: 101, R. Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) at 2 mins 12 secs; DNS: S. Bennett (Deceuninck-Quickstep).

General classification after stage 4: 1, Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 13 hours 30 mins 58 secs; 2, S. Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) at 58 secs; 3, F. Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 1 min 1 secs; 4, N. Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation) at 1 min 5 secs; 5, S. Andres Higuita Garcia (EF Pro Cycling) at 1 min 6 secs. Irish: 121, R. Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) at 25 mins 58 secs.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling