The New Zealander has been on the rise throughout 2017 with an overall win at the Amgen Tour of California marking him as a rider to watch.
He arrived at the race start in Dusseldorf a bit underdone after his California effort but appears to be riding into a rich vein of form when it most matters at the Tour - the final week of racing.
He was properly in the mix on Stage 12, a hard mountainous 214.5k journey from Pau to Peyragudes, which was earlier marked as a defining day for the General Classification.
His attack in the finale showed he could be there with the best of the 2017 Tour and the 27-year-old is now 9th overall and in a strong position to improve on that before Paris.
“Today confirms for me that I can ride with these guys,” Bennett said. “I did not know if Sunday was just a good day. I was unsure. I still made a few mistakes, but this is a good learning curve. The most important thing for me is to stay consistent.”
After testing himself late in the piece, Bennett faded under the pressure applied by new Yellow Jersey Fabio Aru (Astana), stage winner Romain Bardet (AG2R), Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale Drapac) and a now deposed Chris Froome (Sky) but came away happy with the final outcome.
“I had really good legs. A good stage result here would have been nice. Against these guys, it is not very realistic to win, but you got to try," he said.