Kiwi cyclist George Bennett is on track for another top 10 finish in a major stage race after a solid day in the mountains at the Volta a Catalunya in Spain.

Bennett has fought with the leaders for most of the mountainous fourth stage into the snowy La Molina, eventually finishing eighth on the stage to move into eighth overall in the general classification.

After progressing over the 21 kilometre Coll de la Creueta climb in the leading group, Bennett got involved at the front of the race with 10 kilometres to go, briefly jumping clear of the peloton with four other riders.

His group was then caught by the big-name favourites, including Nairo Quintana, Egan Bernal and Alejandro Valverde - a powerful trio who kicked away from Bennett to create a stage-winning attack on the La Molina final climb.


Having to do a lot of the work, Bennett couldn't hang with the elite favourites, but formed a secondary group who then fought for the minor places.

Movistar teammates Valverde and Quintana worked superbly to build a gap and deliver the stage win, with Valverde continuing his superb form to edge Bernal in the sprint and take back the overall leader's jersey.

While short of his absolute peak and that of the supreme climbers, Bennett is again showing his ability to compete with the best in the world, and came across the line 54 seconds down, alongside Simon Yates, Thibaut Pinot and Marc Soler.

He sits one minute and 18 seconds down on the general classification, jumping from 31st to eighth overall.

There is another mountainous stage overnight before the race finishes with a sprint stage and a punchy, hill-dominated finale - routes that could be beneficial to Bennett's chances of recording another top 10 finish in a world-class field.

Bennett finished ninth in this race last year, and in 2018 has already clocked in an 11th-placed finish in the Tour Down Under, and ninth overall at the Tirreno Adriatico.

Considering he's yet to hit his best, these results bode well for his first grand tour of the year - the Giro d'Italia in May, where he could well be fighting it out with the best once again.