George Bennett has lost more time at the Giro d'Italia after an ill-advised attack on stage 15.

With 18.4 kilometres to go on a demanding stage, Bennett tried to attack out of the small leading group of favourites. His bid for glory was short lived though, and as he was reabsorbed, leader Simon Yates took the opportunity to strike.

Yates' bid instead was the glorious one, riding away to claim yet another statement victory. Meanwhile, Bennett had used all the arrows in his quiver, being unable to keep the pace of the group following Yates, and sliding out of contention.

Bennett eventually crossed the line in 14th, losing one minute and 20 seconds on Yates and 39 seconds on five of the riders above him in the general classification.


While he still sits in eighth overall, the time gaps are now becoming significant. Bennett sits 5.34 behind Yates, and remains stuck in the middle of a battle for spots five to 11, with just 2.14 separating the fifth place Miguel Angel Lopez and the 11th placed Rohan Dennis.

Bennett is highly unlikely to hold eighth spot after tomorrow's rest day, with stage 16's 34.2 kilometre time trial set to see Dennis - the favourite for the stage - comfortably surpass him in the overall rankings. However, we have reached the moment which Bennett has predicted all along - his overall fortunes are going to be decided in the final week, and his performances on the last six stages could prove the difference between dipping out of the top 10, or finishing fifth overall.

Any placing greater than that seems unlikely after a telling stage. The top six riders on the general classification created an elite group near the finish - a sextet that was previously a septet until Bennett faded after his attack.

Yates rode incredibly to claim his third stage win by 41 seconds. The man who looks more likely by the day to win the Giro d'Italia stretched his overall lead over Tom Dumoulin to 2.11, with Domenico Pozzovivo (2.28) and Thibaut Pinot (2.37) creating a clear top four.

They - along with Lopez and Richard Carapaz - were the strongest six this morning on a fast-paced stage which took over 70 kilometres for a breakaway to finally establish itself. Involved in the break was Sam Bewley - the only other Kiwi in the Giro after Tom Scully abandoned - and Bewley put in another superb stint to support Yates late into the stage.

After the fatiguing Monte Zoncolan yesterday, the fast pace coupled with three climbs in the last 40 kilometres caused problems for the peloton. Fresh off his stage victory on Zoncolan, Chris Froome suffered, losing 1.32 to quickly fall back out of contention for the overall victory.

He was involved in the vital split that developed with 20 kilometres to go, and while Bennett was well positioned at the front, he soon fell away, and a few kilometres later was left in the second group, chasing the other favourites.

They, in turn, were chasing Yates, who stormed away to stamp his authority on the race yet again. He nearly dealt a dagger blow to Dumoulin, who lost touch with the other chasers with four kilometres to go, but he battled back to cross the line in third, and could conceivably make up the 2.11 in Tuesday night's time trial.


However, based on current form, even if he does get back into contention, Yates will be the favourite for the three remaining mountain stages; stages which will also be pivotal to Bennett's chances of a career-best finish.

Niall Anderson is covering every stage of the Giro d'Italia live for the Herald. He has not idea what to do with himself on the rest day.
Niall's Giro d'Italia wraps
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