George Bennett had two reasons to celebrate when he crossed the line on stage five of the Giro d'Italia.

First and foremost, his arm was raised in triumph for his teammate, Enrico Battaglin, who sprinted away from Giovanni Visconti to claim the stage victory - the third in his Giro career.

But indeed, Bennett could be happy with his performance too, crossing the line in 13th to move into the top 20 in the general classification. Most importantly, he avoided the fate that befell one of his rivals, Colombian climber Miguel Angel Lopez, who crashed into a field with six kilometres to go, and ended up losing 43 seconds to fall nearly two minutes behind leader Rohan Dennis.

Such a deficit can prove tricky to make up in the latter portions of the race, but there were no such problems for Bennett, who rode safely at the front throughout to remain 56 seconds down on Dennis.


It was a tricky final 15 kilometres on stage five after a slow day in the saddle, with a crash with 13.5 kilometres to go leaving half the field caught behind and needing to chase hard on the late inclines.

Bennett timed his effort well in the tricky finish, following the attempted attacks on the final short climb towards the line, and linking up with Battaglin to be one of the first four riders coming around the final bend.

While he was always going to lack the final sprint, Bennett's positioning was strong enough to ensure he would safely cross the line without losing any time - exactly what was required before tomorrow's important stage.

There, we shall see the first major shakeup on the general classification, with stage six ending with the first mountain-top finish of the race. The 15 kilometre climb into Etna will leave only the strongest general classification contenders remaining at the finish, and a quality performance from Bennett could see him jump into the top 10.

Niall's Giro d'Italia wraps
Stage four
Stage three
Stage two
Stage one
Niall Anderson is covering every stage of the Giro d'Italia live for the Herald. The "t" key is stuck on his keyboard, so he apologises for any ypos.