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Top-three finish for NZ cyclist

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/05/2016

Kiwi cyclist George Bennett © Facebook/George Bennett Kiwi cyclist George Bennett Kiwi cyclist George Bennett has grabbed third on stage three of the Tour of California, battling to the line in a gruelling mountain-top finish high above Santa Barbara.

Bennett, riding for Dutch pro team Lotto NL Jumbo, finished 25 seconds behind stage winner Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) of France, who timed his run perfectly for a 4hr 36min 59sec win, 15sec clear of second-placed US rider Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo).

Alaphilippe's win in the 167km stage gives him a 19sec lead on the general classification from Stetina, with Bennett filling third a further 12sec back.

The only other New Zealander in the field, Patrick Bevin (Cannondale), struggled throughout the challenging stage to finish nearly 22 minutes astray of Alaphilippe.

Bevin had earlier finished seventh on stage two, a 148km trek from South Pasadena to Santa Clarita.

The 215km fourth stage of the eight-day tour heads north up the Pacific Coast Highway, finishing with a series of short sharp climbs at Laguna Seca in Salinas.

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