Gutsy effort by New Zealand rider

New Zealander George Bennett performed creditably to finish 33rd in the gruelling cycling road race today.

The star-packed field slogged away for more than six hours and covered 237.5km, enduring a succession of particularly challenging steep climbs.

The race was won by Belgian Greg van Avermaet in 6h 10min 05s from Jakob Fuglsang of Demark and Rafal Majka of Poland.

Among the big names, Britons Chris Froome and Adam Yates were 12th and `15th respectively and Frank Schleck of Luxemburg 20th.

Bennett, 26, was coming off a strong showing in the Tour de France and looked good for most of the journey. He finally lost touch with the peloton at 191km and ended up crossing the line in the same time as Fabian Cancellara, 11 min 49s behind the winner.

The New Zealander said the pace was on from the start.

“That was a bit unexpected,” he said. 

“I knew the first break would not last. But unfortunately when the second break went on the hills, I was back getting bottles as I was out of water.

“I pushed hard on the next lap and nearly bridged up but I suffered for the effort. It was the break that decided the race.”

He said from that point of view he was disappointed, but that he had given it everything he had.

“I managed to keep clear of the crashes and there were plenty of them.”

A second New Zealander, Zac Williams, started the race to keep Bennett company, but withdrew after 40km.

 

Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games George Bennett Zachary Williams
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