Cycling | 1 september 2016
Aggressive ride from George Bennett in the final
Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider George Bennett made a strong showing during the 12th stage of the Tour of Spain. In the final climb into Bilbao, Bennett tried to join the Belgian attacker Dries Devenyns. He ran out of gas, and the main bunch reeled in the attackers, with Jens Keukeleire (Orica Bike Exchange) winning the sprint finish. Bennett finished 19th.
"Today we started with the goal to be in the break. It is a shame that it does not work, but soon we knew that there would be another chance in the final. George Bennett tried it several times at the beginning of the race, but could not get away,” said Sports Director Addy Engels. "In the beginning, we’ve jumped many times, but we could not make it to the group of seven men who escaped on the long climb."
Despite missing the break, Engels soon knew it would come together in the final. "Movistar kept the lead to a small gap, and Astana had already closed several gaps in the beginning, then you know that they're going to ride in the final. And that is what happened. We had Gesink and Bennett in the peloton who could participate on the final climb. "
Bennett surged off the front of the peloton on the last climb, adding: "I saw Devenyns go and immediately thought that it was too early. When no one responded, I am trying to follow him. I came close but behind me a group with several strong riders were coming. "
Bennett soon realized that it was not going to happen: "Despite the strong riders, there was no cooperation, and I just attacked on the descent. Shame it was a wide road, because you’re not in advantage on a big group."
Sports Director Addy Engels looks ahead: "I saw a beautiful race and the chances are that it will be another good day tomorrow. Tomorrow is a long stage that goes up and down. It can go either way, although I do not think we will see men like Bennett and Gesink in front, because of the lack of a real executioner-style climb like today."