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Bennett finishes 10th in Tour of Spain

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/09/2016

New Zealand road cycling professional George Bennett has completed his lofty goal by finishing 10th on the Tour of Spain.

Bennett placed higher on general classification than any Kiwi in a Grand Tour race, holding onto his position in Sunday's 21st and final stage, a 104.8km ride from Las Rozas to Madrid.

He crossed the line in the lead group in 29th place to complete an exhausting recent schedule, having contested his maiden Tour de France and then raced as the sole Kiwi on a taxing Rio Olympic road course.

The LottoNL-Jumbo rider set himself a top-10 target with a week remaining in Spain, having improved to 12th at that point following a fourth placing in the mountainous 14th stage.

"Stoked to sneak into 10th," the 26-year-old tweeted.

He paid tribute to his teammates and staff for helping him to the finish after he became their main rider when Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk crashed out in the first week.

"Massive thanks to everyone involved, friends in the peleton, the fans and all the supporters. Time for some of that brown fizzy stuff."

The final stage was won in a sprint finish by Denmark's Magnus Cort Nielsen.

Movistar rider Nairo Quintana took overall honours, holding off British Tour de France champion Chris Froome by more than a minute.

Meanwhile, Dion Smith was the best of the four Kiwis in the eight-stage Tour of Britain which also finished on Sunday.

One Pro Cycling rider Smith was 16th, more than 16min behind British winner Stephen Cummings.

Jack Bauer was 23rd, the Cannondale-Drapac rider's highlight coming when he won the fifth stage in a sprint finish.

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