Sam Bennett could not repeat the heroics of claiming the opening stage of the Paris-Nice and had to settle for a fifth-place finish on the second day of the iconic French race.
The Tour de France sprint king was affected by a crash about one kilometre from the finish at Amilly and as a result was not in an optimum position to attack at the finishing line.
Dutchman Cees Bool from Team DSM secured the victory, while Australia's Michael Matthews of the Bike Exchange team took control of the overall lead, dispossessing Deceuninck-QuickStep's Bennett of his leader's jersey as a result of time bonuses that were acquired throughout the second stage.
And Bennett felt that it was a missed opportunity to secure back-to-back stages as he commented on social media: "Disappointed with my run in to the sprint finish but the team did a great job for me and hopefully this race will present another opportunity for us!"
Great to spend a day in yellow today @ParisNice and very pleased to be pulling on the geansaí glas tomorrow. 🇮🇪— Sam Bennett (@Sammmy_Be) March 8, 2021
Disappointed with my run in to the sprint finish but the team did a great job for me and hopefully this race will present another opportunity for us!
📸 @GettyImages pic.twitter.com/nF0MgUlH0t
A crash a little over a kilometre from the line had split the pack, one of several incidents on the 188km stage from Oinville-sur-Montcient.
There was concern for Jumbo-Visma's George Bennett, who split his helmet in a crash near the intermediate sprint in Bellegarde a little over 30km from home, though the New Zealand champion completed the stage.
Denmark's Mads Pedersen was second to Bool, with Matthews securing the leader's jersey thanks to a third place finish.
Bennett sits in a share of second place on the overall classification in the Race to the Sun, four seconds off Matthews' lead, alongside Bool and Pedersen.
The Carrick-on-Suir native will wear the sprinter's green jersey on Tuesday's stage as he leads the classification on 21 points.
The third stage is a 14.4km individual time trial in the town of Gien, located around 60 kilometres east of the city of Orleans.
The battle for overall victory should begin to take shape in Tuesday's 14km time trial in Gien. 081604 MAR 21