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Bennett falls heavily at Tour de France

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/07/2016

Kiwi cyclist George Bennett © Facebook/George Bennett Kiwi cyclist George Bennett New Zealand cyclist George Bennett has brushed off a plunge down a steep bank to complete the latest stage of the Tour de France.

Bennett continued his drama-filled second week on the tour by tumbling 2m head-first down a grassy bank early in the 11th stage.

Forced off the road by a collision ahead of him, he lay prone briefly on the ground before being assisted up the bank by support crew.

He took his time before resuming on a new bike, finishing well back in the field, more than five minutes behind Slovakian stage winner Peter Sagan.

Bennett, who dropped two places to 35th on general classification, showed his gratitude to those showing concern at the crash.

"Thanks for the messages team, all more or less OK, My head broke the fall," he said in a tweet accompanied by a picture of his damaged helmet.

Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider Bennett, in his tour debut, was involved in another incident during stage nine on Sunday.

He collided with a spectator who had wandered onto the road but was able to stay on his bike.

Shane Archbold was the best of three Kiwis in Wednesday's 162.5km stage from Carcassonne to Montpellier.

He was 19th across the line in a leading group which finished 5sec behind Sagan, who broke clear in the final kilometres and saw off tour leader Chris Froome of Great Britain in a sprint.

Veteran Kiwi sprinter Greg Henderson was 59th.

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