George Bennett is inching ever closer to his first stage victory as a professional cyclist.

The 28-year-old New Zealander has claimed second place on stage four of the Tour of the Alps, escaping from the bunch in the final kilometres but crossing the line six seconds behind fellow escapee Luis Leon Sanchez.

The result doubles as Bennett's best ever finish on a stage. While he has claimed general classification honours in the Tour of California and the Tour of Wellington, as well as several strong results in major tours, Bennett has never had the satisfaction of crossing the line first with his arms raised in triumph.

You get the sense that it's not far away however, with Bennett showing an increasing ability to throw multiple attacks at his rivals, and this morning he was in the thick of the action on the final two climbs.


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Stage three
Stage two
Stage one

With 31 kilometres to go, Bennett attacked from the peloton, and being over a minute down on the overall lead held by Thibaut Pinot, he was allowed the luxury to join the breakaway up the road.

It was short lived however, with the pace picking up behind, and once again Chris Froome attempted to explode the race with an attack on the last climb of the day. Initially, Bennett was left behind in the peloton, but just when questions were asked about whether he had mistimed his attacks, he proved he had more reserves left by jumping across to the leading group.

There he remained, responding to all the relevant moves which went off the front, and descending well to remain in the small cluster of riders as the race flattened out for the final kilometres.

There, Astana had five men remaining, and threw constant attacks at the remaining riders. Sanchez snuck up the road, and Bennett followed, briefly gaining ground but never getting close enough to the Spaniard.

That's how it finished, with Sanchez crossing the line untroubled, before Bennett rode home, five seconds ahead of the rest of the chasing pack, to sit in seventh overall, one minute and 10 seconds behind Pinot.

With just one stage remaining, he probably won't get that elusive stage win in the Alps, but with the Giro d'Italia just two weeks away, the signs continue to look promising for the burgeoning Bennett.