Kiwi cyclist Bennett in top 10 at Tour of Spain

DAVID LONG
Last updated 10:51 27/08/2014
George Bennett
Getty
THE WHEEL DEAL: Nelson cyclist George Bennett is in seventh place in the Tour of Spain after another strong finish in Tuesday night's stage.

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New Zealand's George Bennett remains in seventh place in the Tour of Spain after another strong finish in Tuesday night's stage from Mairena del Alcor to Cordoba.

The Nelson-born rider is 24 seconds behind leader Michael Matthews, of Australia, but ahead of favourites Chris Froome and Alberto Contador.

Bennett, 24, has been given a rare chance to ride for a high placing in the general classification rather than having to ride in support of a team-mate.

So far he has proved worthy of being given such an important role by his Cannondale team.

Bennett has been in the leading bunch in all three stages after Sunday's team time trial.

The mountains await in the three-week tour, but one of Bennett's strengths is his climbing ability, and with the support of his team, a top 10 final placing is not out of the question.

The timing of Bennett's good form could not be better as he is still hunting for a professional team for next year.

Cannondale are merging with Garmin Sharp, which means half the riders from each team will need to look elsewhere.

The newly formed team has not offered Bennett a contract yet, but three strong weeks around Spain should have it and other teams interested in him.

Of the other New Zealanders in the race, Greg Henderson is in 114th place, Jesse Sergent is 180th and Sam Bewley is a further 10 places back.

However, for these three riders the general classification is of little consequence as they are riding for their teams rather than seeking individual honours.

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