The season is almost at its end for George Bennett, but Il Lombardia still awaits for the LottoNL-Jumbo Kiwi. Bennett prepared for the race with a strong 14th place in Tre Valli Varesine, one of two final ‘warm up’ races for the last monument classic of the season.
After 79 race days in 2018 George Bennett’s season is almost wrapping up. The Kiwi is not quite done yet though; and is now getting ready for his third outing at Il Lombardia. This week saw him line up for one of the two big pre-Lombardia classics at Tre Valli Varesine; which also just so happened to be the first outing in Mitchelton-Scott colours of New Zealand’s favourite Aussie, Robert Stannard.
While a number of riders tackle both Tre Valli Varesine and Milan-Torino, for George the decision was taken to just race the one, and he and LottoNL-Jumbo put in an aggressive performance over the 212km course that saw Toms Skujinš of Trek-Segafredo ride away with the win ahead of Thibaut Pinot of Groupama-FDJ and Peter Kennaugh. Pinot bettered his second place by taking the victory in today’s Milan-Torino.
George Bennett crossed the line in 14th place as part of a select group of riders that contained Vincenzo Nibali, Gianluca Brambilla, newly crowned world champion Alejandro Valverde and Romain Bardet. He and the team had ridden a combative race but were frustrated by the peloton’s tight rein on the race.
“It was a hard race and not easy to get away,” Bennett said post-race. “The boys did really well. Especially the young boys were strong and covered a lot of dangerous moves. Then it was up to Primoz [Roglic] and me to attack. I played the aggressive role but I never got any freedom from the peloton. Primoz and I worked well as a duo but sometimes you need a bit of luck when the race isn’t too selective.”
This weekend Bennett is expected to take his place in the LottoNL-Jumbo outfit for Il Lombardia in a line up that includes teammate Roglič, Koen Bouwman, Robert Gesink, Steven Kruijswijk, Floris De Tier and Antwan Tolhoek.