Sam Bennett won the first stage in Paris-Nice on Sunday.

In the GP Industria & Artigianato there was also success for Deceuninck-Quick-Step: Mauri Vansevenant beat Bauke Mollema.

The Irishman Bennett won the bunch sprint in Saint-Cyr-L'École by force majeure.

He beat French champion Arnaud Démare and former world champion Mads Pedersen by more than a bike length difference.

The opening stage of 165 kilometers was marred by a few crashes in the peloton, including in the last kilometer.

In a previous crash, two-time winner Richie Porte hit the asphalt.

INEOS 'Australian leader had to leave the race.

A leading group of four riders with the experienced Belgian Philippe Gilbert was caught at less than 30 kilometers from the finish.

After that several riders tried to escape, but they failed to avoid a bunch sprint.

Twelve Dutch people participate in France, including climbers Steven Kruijswijk and Sam Oomen and sprinter Cees Bol.

The 79th edition of Paris Nice has eight stages.

Monday there is a chance for the sprinters in a flat stage.

Bauke Mollema was close to his third victory this year in Italy.

Bauke Mollema was close to his third victory this year in Italy.

Photo: ANP

Vansevenant keeps Mollema from third victory in 2021

Mollema just failed to win the GP Industria & Artigianato earlier on Sunday.

He came second behind the Belgian talent Mauri Vansevenant.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider Vansevant (21) was the fastest after 193 kilometers in a leading group of four, including Mikel Landa (third) and Nairo Quintana (fourth) in addition to Mollema.

Ide Schelling, a Dutchman employed by BORA-hansgrohe, came fifth.

He was the first to cross the line of a chasing group, including Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde.

Mollema just missed his third victory of the early season.

The 34-year-old Groninger previously wrote a stage in the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var and the Trofeo Laigueglia to his name.

Mollema is preparing in Italy for the Walloon classics and the Giro d'Italia, which starts on May 8.

The Trek-Segafredo rider will also ride the Tour de France and presumably the Olympic road race this year.

See also: The cycling calendar of 2021