Was great to watch as it happened. EF had an early dig but got their timing all wrong and ended up in the second and third group eventually. Quickstep started riding and were joined by Ineos who had all their classics riders like Rowe, Van Barle, Moscon and Kwiato pulling as well. The main GC riders caught out (Porte, Pinot, Fuglsang, Uran) were in a small group chasing with a few domestiques. This group got from about 35 seconds to within 10 seconds and could almost touch the front group. Unfortunately, their domestiques were utterly spent and even with the GC guys pulling, couldn't quite get there and the gap slowly extended again to 1.40 eventually.
Was sad to see Bennett. You got the sense he knew what was about to happen and frantically got back onto the back of the peloton just before it all kicked off (spilling a number of the bidons he had collected, in the process). Unfortunately, given the narrow nature of the road and the fact the peloton was getting strung out, it was impossible for him to move up. In almost no time was a minute behind (in group 3). He did break away with 2 other riders and tried in vain to bridge across to group 2.
It all happened in the space of 9km. The Ineos DS, Nico Portal is from the area and had pinpointed that particular stretch given the likely wind direction and narrow roads.
On a different note, I did a sportive on Sunday (Etape UK) with Owain Doull and Chris Lawless from Ineos also riding it. Man, they've got some sweet looking kit (they were saying that they couldn't believe the amount of stuff they get issued each year). Those Pinarello Dogma F12's are impressive looking bikes in the flesh.