George Bennett wins Gran Piemonte

George Bennett gave Jumbo-Visma yet another victory two hours after Wout van Aert won stage 1 at the Criterium du Dauphine, winning the one-day Gran Piemonte race in Italy with a perfectly timed attack on the final climb through the Langhe vineyards. 

The Kiwi opened a gap on the decisive late climb and descent and then held off the chasers as the skies opened and the rain poured on the race.

Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) made a very late charge and closed the gap on Bennett on the climb to the finish line but Bennett dug deep to win by five metres. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) won the sprint for third ahead of a small group of chasers, four seconds behind Bennett. Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) was fourth and Simon Geschke (CCC Team) fifth.

"I only had two days left this season where I could ride for myself: today and Saturday, then I go back to being a domestique. On our team, we have the best riders in the world, so I had an opportunity now, on this team, and I really had to take it," Bennett said.

"I’m really happy that I could do it today. I told the boys that I wanted to try and they really did a wonderful job. They told us on the radio half way that Wout [Van Aert] won at the Dauphine, Wout is winning, everyone is winning everywhere, and  I wanted to get in on the action.

"I waited until the last part of the race. I was worried it wasn’t hard enough, so I asked the boys to make it as hard as they could. They did a good job; all the boys positioned me all day. Then Vincenzo (Nibali) tried to attack and as soon as he was fading a little bit, I went. I was a bit scared on the downhill when it was half rain-half dry, that’s always scary because you don’t know how hard you can push. I tried to take it as easy as I could but still go fast." 

Bennett will stay in Italy and lead Jumbo-Visma in Saturday's Il Lombardia, while Primoz Roglic, Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk take on Team Ineos and the rest at the Criterium du Dauphine.

How it unfolded

Gran Piemonte – or the Giro del Piemonte as it used to be called – has changed location and dates over the years. In the 1980s, it moved to its familiar, pre-Tour of Lombardy slot as part of the Trittico d’Autunno with Milano-Torino. This year’s August date is due to the revised COVID-19 UCI calendar but it retains its proximity to Il Lombardia, which is scheduled for Saturday. Many of the riders at the start will also line-up in Bergamo on Saturday. Last year Egan Bernal won the summit finish at Oropa but this year's 187km route was a more of a rolling affair amongst the Langhe hills and vineyards from Santo Stefano Belbo to Barolo. The Langhe produces some of the world's finest wines and the hills of this region lend themselves readily to a race for puncheurs.

It was another hot and humid day as the riders rolled out in the early afternoon, with temperatures of 30C and humidity close to 65 per cent.  The early break formed after a few kilometres with Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott) going clear. They were soon joined Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) and Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) and the peloton let them go, with the gap eventually to rising over five minutes. Astana took early control at the head of the peloton, riding for recent Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge winner Aleksandr Vlasov. The four attackers still lead by 5:45 with 100km left to race and pushed the gap out to 6:15 as they reached Barolo for the start of the two 44km hilly finishing laps.

Trek-Segafredo, Jumbo-Visma and Astana put riders on the front to help the chase but the breakaway fought on, giving the peloton a hide ride.

Van der Poel's Alpecin-Fenix was spared that duty by Walsleben presence in the break. Trek-Segafredo also contributed to the pursuit of the break, bringing the gap down to 3:30. The biggest blow to the break came when Scotson slowed and then suddenly got off his bike due to cramps. The talented Australian was unable to continue racing hard and drifted back to the peloton. Trek-Segafredo's Jacopo Mosca leads the peloton through the finish area in Barolo as the bell rang for the final lap, some 2:15 down on the break. It would be a race all the way to the finish, with Team Ineos driving the chase but only 50 riders were left in the peloton for the hilly finale.

The catch came with nine kilometres to go and the race exploded a kilometre later, when Nibali attacked to set-up Ciccone. However Bennett and Moscon took over at the front and surged away. Bennett then dropped Moscon as the group exploded behind on the steep grades. The rain began as Bennett reached the summit of the climb but he did not look back or ease up, opening a 15-second gap on the chasers. The road turned dry and then wet again for the climb up to Barolo, with Bennett using his climbing skills to hold off the chase all the way to the finish. 

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo - Visma 4:38:23
2Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
3Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin - Fenix 0:00:04
4Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana Pro Team
5Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team
6Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana Pro Team
7Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
8Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton - Scott 0:00:07
9Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek - Segafredo
10Attila Valter (Hun) CCC Team
11Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Jumbo - Visma 0:00:09
12Simone Petilli (Ita) Circus - Wanty Gobert
13Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Vini Zabu KTM
14Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
15Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start - Up Nation 0:00:14
16Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek - Segafredo 0:00:16
17Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:26
18Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Ineos
19Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC Team
20Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team
21Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:31
22Simon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec 0:01:01
23Matteo Sobrero (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling Team
24Gino Mäder (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling Team
25Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team 0:01:05
26Sean Quinn (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon
27Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) Italy
28Daniel Muñoz Giraldo (Col) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
29Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Israel Start - Up Nation 0:01:08
30Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo (Col) Team Ineos
31Einer Augusto Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar Team
32Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Israel Start - Up Nation
33Filippo Ganna (Ita) Team Ineos 0:01:10
34Marco Canola (Ita) Gazprom - Rusvelo 0:01:18
35Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek - Segafredo 0:01:26
36Jefferson Cepeda (Ecu) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec 0:01:37
37Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin - Fenix 0:01:39
38Andrea Garosio (Ita) Vini Zabu KTM
39Martin Marcellusi (Ita) Italy 0:01:53
40Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton - Scott 0:01:54
41Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
42Nikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom - Rusvelo
43Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom - Rusvelo 0:01:58
44Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Vini Zabu KTM
45Luca Colnaghi (Ita) Italy 0:02:06
46Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck - Quick - Step 0:03:21
47Danilo Wyss (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling Team 0:03:57
48Marco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu KTM 0:04:12
49Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
50Stefan De Bod (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling Team
51Petr Vakoč (Cze) Alpecin - Fenix
52Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Eth) Mitchelton - Scott
53Ben Swift (GBr) Team Ineos 0:04:23
54Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team
55Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane 0:05:11
56Chris Harper (Aus) Jumbo - Visma 0:05:16
57Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo - Visma
58Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Alpecin - Fenix 0:05:18
59Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane 0:05:21
60Théo Delacroix (Fra) Circus - Wanty Gobert
61Aleksei Rybalkin (Rus) Gazprom - Rusvelo 0:05:23
62Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Circus - Wanty Gobert 0:05:40
63Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck - Quick - Step 0:05:42
64Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:06:10
65Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek - Segafredo
66Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Ineos
67Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
68Samuele Rivi (Ita) Italy
69Yuriy Natarov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
70Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Jumbo - Visma
71Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Alpecin - Fenix 0:07:30
72Alexander Cataford (Can) Israel Start - Up Nation 0:09:39
73Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo - Visma
74Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start - Up Nation 0:10:36
75Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin - Fenix
76Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team
77Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
78Georg Zimmermann (Ger) CCC Team
79Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabu KTM
80Manuel Senni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane 0:14:24
81Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:14:45
82James Piccoli (Can) Israel Start - Up Nation 0:18:37
83Ian Garrison (USA) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
84Matteo Spreafico (Ita) Vini Zabu KTM
85Brandon Smith Rivera Vargas (Col) Team Ineos
86Luca Covili (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane
87Mathias Norsgaard Jørgensen (Den) Movistar Team
88Juan Diego Alba Bolivar (Col) Movistar Team
89Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start - Up Nation
90Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek - Segafredo
91Petr Rikunov (Rus) Gazprom - Rusvelo
92Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek - Segafredo
93Anton Kuzmin (Kaz) Gazprom - Rusvelo
94Benjamin Dyball (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling Team
DNFFloris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin - Fenix
DNFNicola Bagioli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
DNFFrancesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
DNFYevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
DNFDavide Martinelli (Ita) Astana Pro Team
DNFFilippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane
DNFFrancesco Romano (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane
DNFDaniel Savini (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane
DNFKamil Malecki (Pol) CCC Team
DNFTom Devriendt (Bel) Circus - Wanty Gobert
DNFAndrea Pasqualon (Ita) Circus - Wanty Gobert
DNFDanny Van Poppel (Ned) Circus - Wanty Gobert
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Circus - Wanty Gobert
DNFDamiano Cima (Ita) Gazprom - Rusvelo
DNFLucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton - Scott
DNFCameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton - Scott
DNFCallum Scotson (Aus) Mitchelton - Scott
DNFDion Smith (NZl) Mitchelton - Scott
DNFJuri Hollmann (Ger) Movistar Team
DNFJohan Jacobs (Swi) Movistar Team
DNFMichele Gazzoli (Ita) Italy
DNFJonathan Milan (Ita) Italy
DNFDavide Plebani (Ita) Italy
DNFAmanuel Gebreigzabhier (Eri) NTT Pro Cycling Team
DNFBenjamin King (USA) NTT Pro Cycling Team
DNFPaul Martens (Ger) Jumbo - Visma
DNFMatteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek - Segafredo
DNFCristian Camilo Muñoz Lancheros (Col) UAE Team Emirates
DNFAndres Camilo Ardila Ordoñez (Col) UAE Team Emirates
DNFUmberto Marengo (Ita) Vini Zabu KTM

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