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Bennett downs fan on way to top-10 finish

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/07/2016

Determined New Zealand rider George Bennett has bowled over a spectator on his way to a seventh placing in stage nine of the Tour de France.

Following a low-key first week of his tour debut, Bennett was prominent on the mountainous 185km stage from Vielha Val d'Aran to Andorre Arcalis on Sunday.

The Team Lotto-Jumbo rider tried to instigate an early break and, once caught, made sure he was part of a group of about 40 riders who powered clear of the peloton.

Stage winner Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands made a decisive break on one of several climbs.

As the field broke up, Bennett struck a fan who had wandered onto the road on a tight corner. While the spectator was sent sprawling, Bennett stayed on his bike and only lost momentum briefly.

He finished two minutes and 48 seconds behind Dutchman Dumoulin and improved to ninth on tour's mountain classification and 33rd on general classification, more than 26 minutes behind British tour leader Chris Froome.

Bennett, 26, was last week selected as the lone Kiwi to contest the men's road race at the Rio Olympics.

Kiwi veteran Greg Henderson is 163rd overall and Shane Archbold 191st, more than two hours behind Froome.

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