Ireland's Sam Bennett won the opening stage of the Tour of Slovenia and with it the leader's green jersey.

The Carrick on Suir rider was delivered to the final metres by his Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates and proved the strongest in the final metres of the narrow finish to the 159.4-kilometres stage from Koper to Kocevje.

An early nine-man break was reeled in with just over eight kilometres remaining as the sprinters' teams jostled for position, but it was Bennett that proved strongest.

He finished ahead of Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and Luca Mezgec (Orica-Scott) as the Irishman franked his fine Giro d'Italia form that yielded three podium finishes.

Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) had looked set to contest the sprint on his return to action following a three-month absence with glandular fever caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, but although he was well ahead of a late crash which fractured the peloton, he was never in contention on the narrow finish as Bennett won.

The four-day race concludes on Sunday as Cavendish seeks to prove his fitness ahead of the Tour de France.