George Bennett was the first rider to create a real gap on the short and steep Corkscrew Hill and it looked like the 22-year-old would be the first rider to reach the summit - until Geraint Thomas (Sky) came blasting past the RadioShack Leopard rider.
Bennett crested the climb in third position and once joined by teammate Ben Hermans, he promptly took charge of the four-rider group and sacrificed his own position for the stage and general classification.
With a chasing pack just behind, Bennett explained he received "some friendly encouragement" from Hermans. He may have lost time at the finish but said it was better to go "all in for one" than risk being caught.
"It was all about [Ben] Hermans today, with me and Tiago," said Bennett at the finish.
"It would have been very different [if it was a hilltop finish]. I went really, really deep, in the red zone and I had to hang on. Normally I'm really good on the downhill but I was terrible. I was just so tired and couldn't think straight and get down the hill.
"I actually ended up getting drifted off by one of the other riders on a corner and it stuffed my rhythm up but once Hermans was on I just had to put my head down. He was yelling some abuse - giving me some friendly encouragement."
In this video Bennett describes the climb, tricky run-in to the finish at Rostrevor and his dedication to helping teammate Hermans. RadioShack Leopard now have two riders in the top-ten: Hermans in third at 7 seconds and Machado in 10th at 14 seconds. Bennett sits just outside the top-ten, on the same time as Machado
"We wanted the stage win but we also wanted to get seconds on the rest of the guys for Hermans for GC. Me leading out meant we lost my position on GC but I'm still only a few seconds back. It was better to go all in for one than try and spread ourselves too thinly. Hermans has the experience and has been good here before so [we are] backing him."
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.