LottoNL-Jumbo’s George Bennett is on the cusp of creating history for New Zealand. He currently sits 12th overall in the Vuelta a Espana and, if he maintains that position, he will create history as the highest placed Kiwi ever in the general classification of a grand tour. But George Bennett is looking for a Vuelta top ten finish and will need to take risks in the final week to get there.
RoadCycling got to chat to George Bennett during the second rest day of the Vuelta a Espana. Bennett had stepped up to leadership with flying colours in the second section of the Vuelta. After taking over from injured Steven Kruijswijk, consistently placing well in the mountains – and then taking 4th place in stage 14 – had elevated George into 12th place overall.
But Bennett is motivated by the prospect of getting into the top 10 by the time the race reaches Madrid; and he’s not content to sit on his laurels. While the Kiwi climber is sitting 9.45mins behind Nairo Quintana, he is just 2.06mins behind the top ten. Tenth place is currently occupied by Michele Scarponi of Astana, and while a number of teams have ridden strongly in the peloton to defend their place in the top ten, Bennett knows that all he has to do is get into the right breakaway and it’s all on!
In this interview we talk to Bennett about his rest day, leadership responsibilities, Vuelta vs Tour and how they compare, any nerves around the final week and that fantastic fourth place.