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Bennett seventh in major Spanish tour

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/04/2017

George Bennett's forceful start to 2017 is rolling on in northern Spain.

After four of six stages in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Kiwi road cycling professional Bennett sits seventh on general classification, just three seconds behind the tour leader.

His prominent performance in the World Tour event follows two top-10 finishes.

The 26-year-old was ninth in the seven-day Tour of Catalunya, which finished last week. Before that,the Team LottoNI-Jumbo rider was seventh overall in the Abu Dhabi Tour.

This week's effort has been highlighted by an aggressive ride in the 160km third stage from Vitoria-Gasteiz to San Sebastian.

In Thursday's 174km leg from San Sebastian to Bilbao, Bennett crossed the line 15th in a bunch finish, having helped set team-mate Primoz Roglic up for the stage win.

Slovenian Roglic shares the overall lead with Spaniard David De La Cruz after four moderately tough legs.

The field is likely to be stretched over the final two stages - a mountainous 140km ride on Friday followed by an individual time trial.

Bennett, 26, is coming off a breakthrough 2016 in which the highlight was his 10th placing at the Tour of Spain.

His form belies a difficult off-season spoiled by glandular fever.

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