George Bennett climbed to eighth in the Abu Dhabi Tour’s summit finish to Jebel Hafeet today. Rui Costa won the stage and took the overall lead with one day left to race. Bennett moved to sixth place.
"I'm glad to climb among the big riders again,” Bennett said.
“It was a stressful day with much wind. I was too far back at the start of the climb and I struggled to move forward. Many riders were dropped ahead of me, so I had to fight my way through the traffic. Once I was there, I saw the top favourites attack one by one."
Steven Kruijswijk gave it ago and rode solo. He closed 25th at 1-05 minutes.
"Steven had a lot of bad luck with the wind and could not sustain it unfortunately,” continued Bennett. “When we were on the steepest section, it fell silent. Everyone was at his limit and I was full-gas.
“Some riders joined me and they tried to attack in the final. I made some mistakes, which was frustrating."
Steven Kruijswijk tried to close the gap to the Costa winning duo, but after his effort, drifted back in the group with stars. New Zealander George Bennett then took his turn.
‘We’re happy for George’
Sports Director Addy Engels is happy to see Bennett back in the front after dealing with mononucleosis over the winter. "George rode a nice stage,” Engels said. “It's his first race after his illness this winter."
"Steven’s attack was daring, but ultimately proved to be too early."
The race finishes tomorrow with a flat stage on the Formula One circuit in Abu Dhabi.