It might not have resulted in the stage win, but LottoNL-Jumbo were delighted with the way the race was tackled in stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California, that left George Bennett with second place on the stage and overall; as well as Robert Gesink taking 5th place.
The breakaway group that George Bennett eventually found himself in was a healthy move that included Rafal Majka of Bora-Hansgrohe, Ian Boswell of Team Sky and Lachlan Morton of Dimension Data. Forming the move put Bennett close to red, but it worked and the group was one that worked very effectively. “I did about 30 seconds full-gas,” Bennett said in a team statement. “We all worked together well and we all knew we had the same ambitions.”
Ultimately the stage came down to a two-man sprint finish between George Bennett and Rafal Majka and it was the latter who just had enough to take the win. George’s disappointment was palpable, not just because of missing out on the win, but also in the light of the way the team has functioned and the fact that this stage was planned for in advance. “We decided already a week ago that today we were going to race hard,” he said. “We’ve got a really young team, a really motivated team. It’s disappointing not to finish off all their hard work with a win.”
Teammate Robert Gesink is one of those motivated riders. He had a stellar performance himself, taking fifth place and moving up to 5th overall. “I think the four best riders got away on Mount Hamilton,” Gesink said. “It’s a pity that George didn’t win, but it allowed me to wait for the sprint and to keep calm. I feel very good, but George is in top form. That’s a good sign for the coming days. Today, we did very well and I hope we can repeat that in the coming days.”
Sports Director Grischa Niermann had high praise for the way George and the LottoNL-Jumbo team rode the stage. “It is beautiful that the plan comes together,” he said. “George was always convinced he would stay away and was really concentrated on the victory, so he’s disappointed he didn’t pull it off. Regardless, he did well and moved up in the GC to second. We are very pleased with that.”