• George Bennett of Jumbo-Visma surges clear of Gianni Moscon in Gran Piemonte (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
New Zealand's George Bennett (Team Jumbo - Visma) claimed his first one-day race victory as he rode away from the peloton on the final hill leading to Barolo with 7.5km to go in the 104th edition of Gran Piemonte.
By
SBS Cycling Central

13 Aug 2020 - 10:21 AM 

The New Zealander launched clear of the main bunch just after the day's breakaway had been caught, countering the attack of Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) and just holding off hometown favourite Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) to the finish, with Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) in third.

Bennett's win topped off a good day for Team Jumbo-Visma, following Wout van Aert's victory earlier in the evening in the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphine.

“I only had two days left this season where I could ride for myself: today and Saturday, then I go back to being a domestique," said Bennett after the race. "I told my teammates that I wanted to try for the win today and they did a wonderful job. They made the race super hard in the final climb. I was hoping to stay away until the end and I did.”

George Bennett winner's interview after Gran Piemonte triumph

The catch of the breakaway came with nine kilometres to go and the race exploded a kilometre later, when Nibali attacked to set-up teammate Guilio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo). However, Bennett and Moscon took over at the front and surged away.

Bennett then dropped Moscon as the group splintered behind the front pair. The rain began as Bennett reached the summit of the climb and a chase began in earnest behind. The descent and flat were tricky in the slick conditions and Bennett was able to make the most of his advantage to just hold on for the victory ahead of a fast-finishing Ulissi.

“Bennett was the strongest on the climbs today and when he attacked he made a gap we were not able to close," said Ullissi. "I tried to catch him towards the end, but I didn't have the legs to follow him uphill. My teammates did a great job, I gave everything in the final sprint but it wasn't enough."