Kiwi cyclist George Bennett has claimed one of his best finishes in a major stage race.

Bennett has finished sixth overall at the Volta a Catalunya - the second best finish in his professional career, behind last year's triumph at the Tour of California.

Considering the world class field he was up against in Spain, the result is almost as significant as his Californian breakthrough, with Bennett managing to hang tough with some of cycling's best climbers.

The final stage of the race saw him move up one spot on the general classification, but in unfortunate circumstances, with elite prospect Egan Bernal crashing out when on track to finish second overall.


Bennett just managed to swing past the aftermath of the crash which ended Bernal's race, and stayed in the reduced bunch right until the end on what was an exhilarating final stage.

At no point on the 154 kilometre stage did a breakaway gain more than 25 seconds, with the aggressive racing making the finale look more like a one-day race than the conclusion of a gruelling tour.

As the complexion of the leading group constantly changed, Bennett found himself in the mix, doing enough to regather position whenever Bernal and overall winner Alejandro Valverde attacked.

The 27-year-old briefly appeared at the front of the race and with 10 kilometres to go had a peek at launching his own counter-attack, but eventually he hung with the bunch, finishing 10th on the stage.

Stage victory went to Britain's Simon Yates, who attacked late to beat Marc Soler by 13 seconds, with Bennett part of a small group who crossed the line five seconds further down.

Valverde claimed overall honours by 29 seconds over Movistar teammate Nairo Quintana, with France's Pierre Latour edging Yates on a countback to claim the final podium spot.

Bennett finished one minute and 23 seconds back of Valverde in sixth - an impressive result for a rider still building towards his top form.

Bennett has finishes of 11th, ninth and now sixth in his three major stage races to date, and will be aiming to arrive in peak form at the Giro d'Italia in early May.

Before then though, the Tour of the Alps likely awaits next month, before some final tinkering and training until the Giro arrives, where uncharted territory for New Zealand cycling could be accomplished.