Giro d'Italia: George Bennett carries musette over the Passo Giau to finish 14th on stage 16

After riding up the Zoncolan twice two days ago, the New Zealander held onto his musette up the snow-ridden Passo Giau on the queen stage

George Bennett on stage 16 of the 2021 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Getty)

Sometimes you're so cold you carry a musette over the top of the Giro d'Italia's cima coppi to come across the finish line in 14th place.

That is, at least, if you're Jumbo-Visma's George Bennett, who came into view of the TV cameras in Cortina d'Ampezzo after poor weather blighted broadcasters and reduced the height and length of stage 16, with a musette hanging around his shoulders.

The New Zealander finished six minutes behind stage winner Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), and three minutes behind 13th place Dani Martínez (Ineos Grenadiers), coming into the finish alongside a heavily-wrapped-up Mikel Nieve (BikeExchange).

Having stuffed his rain jacket down his jersey, Bennett rode into the finish without gloves despite the temperatures reaching freezing up the day's big climb.

>>> As TV coverage ground to a halt, this fan live-streamed stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia on Instagram atop the Passo Giau

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Maybe Bennett was indeed off to the shops just as soon as he'd finished the gruelling 155km-long stage, although title sponsor Jumbo only operates in Belgium and the Netherlands, but more likely he was either too cold to bother getting rid of it or was worried about being fined for littering.

New UCI regulations specify litter zones for riders to dispose of their rubbish or else face hefty fines and even time penalties.

Litter zones are assembled every 30-40km in all UCI races, although the terrible weather on stage 16 could have prohibited these from being set up.

Each infraction will result in a fine between 200-1000 CHF, about €180-€900, as well as a 30-second time penalty for the first offence, followed by a two-minute deduction for the second before a third gets you thrown off the race.

Bennett has been having fun, or at least a particular type of fun, on the big mountain stages of this Giro, having ridden up the Zoncolan on stage 14 before descending back down to the bus, only to come across team-mate Edoardo Affini and start riding back up the mountain alongside him as a thank you for the work the Italian had done in the breakaway that day.

The 31-year-old currently sits in 14th place in the general classification, 18 minutes down on Bernal, while team-mate Tobias Foss moved up to ninth, 8-20 down, after a top 10 placing on stage 16.

The Norwegian will now look to defend his top 10 all the way to Milan in what is only the 23-year-old's second Grand Tour appearance.

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