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Bennett happy to be man in green


Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett

Irishman Sam Bennett extended his lead over Peter Sagan to 12 points in the race for the green jersey after yesterday's sixth stage of the Tour de France.

Alexey Lutsenko took his first career stage win with victory from the breakaway on the mountainous trip to Mont Aigoual.

The eight-man break included Nicholas Roche, who scored two King of the Mountain points before the gruelling finish, which saw the group splinter on the main climb of the day, the Col de la Lusette, late in the 191km stage from Le Teil.

Roche is third in the climbing rankings overall, on 11 points, behind Benoit Cosnefroy (23pts) and Michael Gogl (12 pts).

Bennett scored six points on an intermediate sprint to stretch his lead over Sagan in the points classification to 12.

"It was amazing," said Bennett, who is the first Irishman to lead any classification at the Tour since Sean Kelly won the points classification for the fourth and final time in 1989.

"Some people thought I was Peter - they are so used to seeing him in green so on the road side a lot of people shouted 'Sagan' at me. They're not used to it but it was a lovely experience because I also heard my name being shouted a lot."

Team Sunweb's Roche joined his compatriot on the podium at the end of the day, named the most aggressive rider after driving the formation of the breakaway, though it came as scant consolation.

"I'm exhausted and disappointed," Roche said. "Most of the day I did pretty good, but the change of rhythm on the steep ramps of the category one climb killed me, and maybe I paid for going too deep at the start.

"That was the gamble today. I knew it was a chance but unfortunately I wasn't strong enough to follow the other guys."

Yellow jersey wearer Adam Yates marked his rivals on the long climb to the finish to retain his three-second lead over race favourite Primoz Roglic, a day after a time penalty for Julian Alaphilippe thrust him into the race lead.

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