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Bennett bridges gap to be a boy in green

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POINT MADE: Bennett

POINT MADE: Bennett

Pool via REUTERS

POINT MADE: Bennett

Irish sprinter Sam Bennett missed out on victory in yesterday's stage, but will wear the green jersey for the first time in his career today after overtaking Peter Sagan in the points classification at the Tour de France.

The Deceuninck-Quickstep rider finished third after 183km of largely sedate racing from Gap to Privas on Stage 5 behind Belgian Wout van Aert and Dutch man Cees Bol. However, Bennett will swap his green and white Irish national champion's jersey for the maillot vert as he becomes the first Irishman to pull on any of the classification jerseys since Sean Kelly wore green into Paris in 1989.

Sagan has dominated the green jersey with seven victories in the points race since 2012, but some brilliant tactical riding by Bennett and his Quickstep team saw the 29-year-old overhaul the Slovakian, who was fourth at the finish line.

"It is special for me to be the third Irishman to wear the green jersey. I will do everything to keep it," said Bennett, who joins Kelly and Stephen Roche as an Irish points leader.

The Carrick-on-Suir sprinter was fourth on Stage 1 before being beaten on the line by Caleb Ewan into Sisteron on Monday, but his points tally has been bolstered by two impressive displays in the intermediate sprints over the last two days. After getting the better of Sagan on Stage 4 to move level on 83 points, Bennett took the maximum (20) at today's intermediate sprint with teammate Michael Morkov helping to increase the advantage by sweeping up the points for second leaving Sagan back in fourth.

Bennett now leads the former World Champion by 123 points to 114.

As the 29-year-old goes into green, his Quickstep team-mate Julian Alaphilippe lost his yellow jersey in unusual circumstances. The French favourite was hit with a 15-second time penalty for talking a bottle inside the final 20km. Adam Yates has taken over at the top of the general classification.

Meanwhile, the UCI has announced Imola as the new venue for the road race World Championships, which will only feature the elite events. The championships, originally scheduled for Aigle-Martigny in Switzerland, will now take place in Italy between Thursday September 24 and Sunday September 27.