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Cycling | 20 januari 2018

Gesink and Bennett remain in top ten Tour Down Under

Stage five of the Tour Down Under was previously labeled as the queen stage. The riders were sent twice over the Willunga Hill, where the race finished the second time. After a long time racing together with Enrico Battaglin, Robert Gesink finished eighth, which is also the position Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s leader occupies in the general classification.

His teammate George Bennett finished in the same time as Gesink and had to relinquish a position in the general classification. The New Zealander is now ninth. 

Saturday’s stage was marked by an escape that was caught after the first passage of the Willunga Hill. Then it was up to the favourites to show what they were worth. For a long time, Maarten Wynants helped the leaders Gesink and Bennett. In the last kilometres the peloton thinned further, after which the race was determined by the favourites for the most part.

Enrico Battaglin was often to be found in the lead of the peloton, yet he especially praised his teammates. "In terms of teamwork, it was a good day for us. We have made sure that two of our riders are in the top ten of the rankings. I personally assisted Gesink and Bennett on the climb to Willunga Hill for as long as possible", the Italian said.

Sports director Frans Maassen concurred with Battaglin and also thought Gesink was strong today. "Robert has given everything and was seen a lot in front. We should be content with today’s result”, Maassen said.