George Bennett takes his first one-day race victory at Gran Piemonte 2020

The Kiwi continues his good form off the back of the Tour de l'Ain

George Bennett takes a very impressive victory as he attacked at the top of the penultimate climb to solo his way to victory ahead of a fast-finishing Diego Ulissi.

The day was exceptionally hot in Italy with temperatures well above 30 degrees centigrade, but just after the final climb before the kick to the finish, the rain began to hammer down which stalled the chase behind.

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Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) was tiring on the final ascent up to the finish with what was left of the peloton charging up behind, but he managed to hold on and take his first ever one-day race victory.

How it happened

The peloton started the day in Santo Stefano Belbo and raced over a 187km route to Barolo in 35 degree heat, with 12 notable climbs to conquer before the final 1.2km, six per cent average gradient rise to the line.

A four man break went up the road, Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix), Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott).

With around 50km to go, Scotson was dropped before stopping on the side of the road with cramp.

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With just over 30km to go the peloton started seeing a few attacks trying to get away, involving some of the biggest names, Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-Scott), Petr Vakoc (Alpecin-Fenix) and Ben Swift (Team Ineos) amongst others.

They got pulled back very quickly when Astana, Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates took back control.

With 20km to go there was a crash involving five riders. Dion Smith and Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar Team), Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix) and Gino Mäder (NTT Pro Cycling) hit the deck but they all got on their feet.

At 10km to go, Mathieu van der Poel‘s Alpecin-Fenix team came up to the front as the break only has 30 seconds. The peloton was broken down to about 40 riders as they headed onto the final climb before they kick at the end up to Barolo.

Walsleben eventually was dropped by the WorldTour riders with 9km to go, but just half a kilometre later both Rosskopf and Honoré both sat up just before they went over the top of the penultimate climb.

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But with 7km to go, the penultimate climb saw big attacks as Bennett hit out hard with Gianni Moscon (Team Ineos) desperately trying to cling to his wheel.

Behind, Van der Poel had dropped everyone else as he paced himself across and past Moscon. As they go over the top onto a tricky descent, it started to rain.

Van der Poel was brought back by a small group with Moscon leading them but Bennett pulled away with 5km to go, pulling out 10 seconds.

The chasing group was made up of van der Poel, Moscon, Ion Izagirre (Astana), Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott), Attila Valter (CCC Team) and Alessandro De Marchi (CCC Team). but the gap continued to extend to 21 seconds with 2km to go.

The final climb kicked up to nine per cent in gradient, but the climber from New Zealand stayed away just holding off Ulissi and van der Poel.

Results

Gran Piemonte – Santo Stefano Belbo to Barolo (187km)

1. George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma, in 4-38-23
2. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at the same time
3. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix, at 4s
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana
5. Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team
6. Alexander Aranburu (Esp) Astana
7. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Robert Stannard (Aus) Michelton-Scott
9. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
10. Attila Valter (Hun) CCC Team, all at the same time.