George Bennett has safely navigated through stage seven of the Giro d'Italia, but the real challenges await in the next two days.

Bennett has finished comfortably in the peloton in 30th position on the stage for the sprinters, a stage won by his namesake - Ireland's Sam Bennett, who claimed his first victory of 2018, and his first stage win in a grand tour.

He employed interesting tactics to claim the win, preferring to eschew his leadout riders for a spot on the wheel of big favourite, and two-time stage winner already, Elia Viviani.

It worked a charm, as Viviani found his way onto the wheel of Sacha Modolo as the sprint began, sprinting past him at an opportune moment, but only to see Bennett speed by in the final 50 metres to claim a quality win.


With the sprinters coming to the fore, the general classification contenders enjoyed an easier stage, after the shake-up in the mountains yesterday which saw Bennett launch into the top 10 and Simon Yates take over the pink jersey.

Now, after none of them lost time today, the general classification riders will have back-to-back chances to gain on their rivals, with two uphill finishes on the agenda over the weekend in Italy.

First, the riders will take on the summit finish of the Montevergine di Mercogliano - a 17.1 kilometre climb which is less difficult than stage six's Etna, but is likely to still only leave the best climbers standing at the end, due to the length of the climb.

However, with the last eight kilometres coming at an average gradient of just five per cent, most of the top climbers should be able to handle the finish, with the stage potentially being decided by timing and acceleration rather than pure endurance.

Get past that, and a trickier test awaits the following day, where the majority of the final 45 kilometres are uphill, including a particularly gruelling last few kilometres.

Bennett has stressed the importance of patience at the Giro - making sure he is in form in the final week - but he will also know how crucial it is to not lose time on the upcoming two stages.

Fortunately for him, having avoided any trouble his morning, he is well placed to make his mark.

Niall Anderson is covering every stage of the Giro d'Italia live for the Herald. He is proud he resisted the temptation to make the headline "Bennett wins stage in Giro".
Niall's Giro d'Italia wraps
Stage six
Stage five
Stage four
Stage three
Stage two
Stage one