20 May 2017

Bennett takes the lead in California

11:15 am on 20 May 2017

The Nelson cyclist George Bennett has taken the overall lead in the Tour of California.

Nelson cyclist George Bennett.

Nelson cyclist George Bennett. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Bennett had the fourth fastest time in the penultimate stage, a 24km individual time trial.

Bennett, who started the day six seconds behind the leader Rafal Majka of Poland, finished well ahead of his rival and will take a 35 second lead into tomorrow's final stage.

A win would by the first professional success for the 27 year old New Zealander.

Bennett says he was suprised as anyone with his ride today.

"Franz the team guy who was on my radio doesn't normally get excited but at the half way he just lit up and I knew I was on a good time."

"At altitude you never go really deep and I just held it and when I crossed the line all the cameras were coming and stuff and I thought shit maybe I've done something good and neck minute I'm wearing the yellow jersey."

Bennett doesn't think it'll be a stroll for him on the final stage.

"I think it's close enough that it could come down to sprint bonuses and it's not going to be a parade lap like we do in Madrid in the Vuelta, this is serious racing tomorrow and the boys have a big job."