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"I'm a little frustrated, we had a go at the top 10 and I was four seconds off," Bennett said. "I just came unstuck and just lost that third place for the bonus seconds."

Photo: RadioShack-Nissan








24.01.2015 @ 13:50 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

George Bennett climbed LottoNL-Jumbo's yellow and black colours to 11th overall in the Tour Down Under's queen stage. On Willunga Hill, he placed 13th at 32 seconds behind Richie Porte (Sky) and moved to 11th from 18th behind race leader Rohan Dennis (BMC).


"I'm a little frustrated, we had a go at the top 10 and I was four seconds off," Bennett said. "I just came unstuck and just lost that third place for the bonus seconds."


"We hoped for a top 10, he was close to it," added Sports Director Frans Maassen. "He had the legs, but he had to struggle in the winds before the climb, that wasn't too good for him for the final moments, but he did well.


Cross-wind killer

Bennett survived the majority of the 151.5-kilometre fifth stage from McLaren Vale, but spent too much energy fighting for position in the head- and cross-winds ahead of the final Willunga Hill climb.


Astana split the race for three or four kilometres and Orica and Sky fought to bring it back under control for their leaders ahead of the final 3.5 push up the Willunga Hill.


"After the first time up the climb, I was fine, but those attacks in the cross-winds killed me. I lost a lot of power. That was the hardest part of the race," Bennett said.


"On the start of the climb, I felt all right, but I had to go around guys and make efforts to get there. I'm still lacking that explosive power on a power climb like Willunga."


Team effort

Bennett praised the efforts of his team-mates, including Timo Roosen and Bert-Jan Lindeman who stuck with him deep into the race. They made sure he was protected leading to the last moments before Astana took control.


Maarten Tjallingii's efforts were just as impressive. He woke up this morning and started the stage despite a crash in the closing kilometre of stage four yesterday.


"After the crash, he was banged up," explained Bennett. "He was tough just to start and put on his number. He and the other boys did an awesome effort.


"He had to quit the race after an hour, we missed him in the first 100 kilometres," added Maassen. "It was too much for him to continue."



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