For Kiwi cyclist George Bennett, stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia could be seen as a microcosm of his race so far.

Once again, Bennett has come up just short of being able to keep the pace set by the top four favourites, but at the same time, has stayed composed to record another consistent finish when his other rivals faltered.

Bennett has finished in 12th on this morning's stage - his fourth straight top-20 finish - crossing the line 23 seconds off the pace, and losing time to four of the five riders ahead of him on the general classification.

However, while his unlikely odds of overall victory get longer by the day, Bennett's prospects of a top 10 - or top five - finish continue to improve, with several of his general classification rivals suffering worse fates on the frenetic finish to a fast-paced stage.


Two riders tumbled out of the top 10, with Michael Woods losing 65 seconds, while Chris Froome's horror Giro continued, losing 40 seconds. Bennett managed to better limit his losses, to remain in sixth overall, albeit it now two minutes and nine seconds off the overall lead.

That lead is still held by Simon Yates. While the finish to the stage packed a punch, it also largely went by the form book, with Yates attacking with 1.5 kilometres to go, accelerating away to win his second stage of the Giro, and increase his lead to 47 seconds.

His closest rival - Tom Dumoulin - finished two seconds in arrears, and it looks like the duo will be the main protagonists as the race reaches the second half of its script.

The crescendo to stage 11 ending up offering larger time gaps than expected, perhaps due to slightly tired legs after the race was ridden at a fast tempo all day.

The riders knew the stage would be decided in the last five kilometres, and after an undulating day they attacked the finish with ferocity. With Bennett trying to position himself at the front, the attacks flew, with classics specialist Zdenek Stybar linking with Tim Wellens to launch the first escape plan.

The group had to tackle gradients of up to 16 per cent, and after it flattened out, the finale kicked up again, with the road becoming steep again in the last two kilometres.

It was there when Yates made his decisive move, flying past the brief breakaway. Dumoulin came the closest to getting on his wheel, but in the end, all the favourites were distanced, with third-placed Thibaut Pinot and fourth-placed Domenico Pozzovivo losing eight seconds, and fifth-placed Richard Carapaz coming in alongside Bennett, 23 seconds down.

A disappointment for Bennett? Considering his expectations thus far, probably. But with two sprint stages ahead before a mammoth stage 14 on Saturday night, a solid grip on sixth place is an extremely advantageous spot to be in as the race starts to get serious.


Niall Anderson is covering every stage of the Giro d'Italia live for the Herald. He promises to write less for the sprint stages.
Niall's Giro d'Italia wraps
Stage ten
Stage nine
Stage eight
Stage seven
Stage six
Stage five
Stage four
Stage three
Stage two
Stage one