Hit by a car four days ago and still on track for the Giro: George Bennett's incredible comeback at Tour of the Alps

New Zealander still suffering after-effects of crash, but says he hopes good form is still there

George Bennett goes on the attack on stage four of the Tour of the Alps
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Sunday was meant to be a run-of-the mill recon ride for George Bennett as he rode the route of stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia, the 34.5km time trial from Trento to Rovereto.

Unfortunately things did not go to plan Bennett found himself lying on the tarmac after a driver turned in front of him, a collision which took place at such speed that the New Zealander said he took the car's bike rack clean off with his knees.

Miraculously Bennett managed to escape without any serious injuries, lining up for the opening stage of the Tour of the Alps the following day and taking second place behind Luis Leon Sanchez on Thursday's stage to Lienz.

>>> Froome fails to break Pinot's resolve as Astana hot streak continues on Tour of the Alps stage four

Like so many other riders at the Tour of the Alps, Bennett is using the race as final preparation for the Giro d'Italia, which starts in Jerusalem on May 4, but admits that the crash has affected him both physically and psychologically.

"I was feeling confident and really good ahead of the Giro, but since the crash I’ve had some really strange feelings," Bennett said as he completed his warm down after the stage.

"It's a bit in my head. I’m not that keen to rail the descents too fast, even if I can still get down them without trouble.

"Physically, the day after the crash I was still good, but two days after all the swelling came out and I just felt like an absolute wreck. Today was a bit better so I’m hoping that I’m past the worst of it.

"I know I’m going pretty good from before I crashed. That can’t have been lost completely, but I’ll have to take a bit of time after this race and let it get back to normal. It’s a pretty big trauma for your body to go through so I've just got to take things slowly."

>>> 'It's a taste of what we'll see at the Giro': Chris Froome relishing aggressive racing at Tour of the Alps

As is the case with all second places, the LottoNL-Jumbo rider's runner-up position provoked bittersweet emotions, but his performance was certainly an impressive one given both his recent crash and the fact that he had already put in a big effort in an unsuccessful attack earlier in the stage.

"I went way too early [by attacking with 30km to go . I thought it was a good move because Bahrain-Merida, Sky, and Astana all had guys up the road. and I thought 'if I can get there then who is going to chase?'

"But then UAE were still there to chase. I went across full gas, as hard as I could go and got across really quickly, but then I was cooked. I was pretty smashed.

"After that I was a little bit worried with what the last climb was going to hold, but in the end I managed to attack again and I didn’t even look behind.

"I think we had the fastest guy in the group. I went after Sanchez to try and close him down so Koen [Bouwman] could try and win the sprint, but I couldn’t catch him. He was too strong."

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.