A THORN IN THE SIDE

Procycling - - GEORGE BENNETT -

Ge­orge Ben­nett went into the Vuelta full of high hopes to tar­get the gen­eral classi ica­tion, but the per­sis­tent side stich prob­lem that he’s su fered from for years ham­pered him in the se­cond half of the race. De­spite start­ing the race strongly, Ben­nett even­tu­ally in­ished in Madrid in 35th place.

Af­ter a mid-sum­mer break, Ben­nett re­turned at the Tour of Poland and in­ished a strong fourth. His con idence was high and form was good. And at the end of week one of the Vuelta, af­ter the sum­mit in­ish to La Co­vatilla, he was nicely po­si­tioned in the top 10, 48 sec­onds be­hind leader Si­mon Yates. His team­mate Steven Krui­jswijk was one place ahead of him. But on stage 13, on the sum­mit in­ish to La Cam­per­ona, Ben­nett strug­gled and con­ceded two min­utes to Yates. He had hoped it was a case of stage 13 bad luck, but 24 hours later, when faced with an­other sum­mit in­ish, his GC hopes col­lapsed. He lost an­other seven min­utes to Yates and slipped out of the top 20. With Krui­jswijk still in con­tention, Ben­nett switched to sup­port­ing his team-mate. Ben­nett had hoped the side stitch prob­lem was be­hind him af­ter hav­ing surgery a year ago. But af­ter the Vuelta he ad­mit­ted he had been un­der­go­ing test­ing again. “I’m sick of it be­ing an is­sue but un­for­tu­nately the real­ity is it’s still there as bad as ever. It’s a big lim­iter,” he told Ra­dio Sport.

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