Bennett curses latest finish in Giro d'Italia

Bennett curses latest finish in Giro d'Italia

The Kiwi rider now holds ninth position on the overall Giro d'Italia leaderboard, one minute and 11 seconds behind leader, Simon Yates of England. Bennett was the last to launch his sprint but the Irish rider managed to edge out Elia Viviani and claim his first win in a Grand Tour.

O'Connor came 12th in Thursday's stage, which ended with a climb up Mount Etna, and he lies 13th in the general classification (GC), one minute and 39 seconds behind Yates.

Bennett said the key to his win was grabbing Viviani's wheel and a bit of patience.

The 28-year-old comfortably saw his way through the flat 159km course from Pizzo to Praia a Mare to finish in the peloton in 30th position.

Yates's second place on the stage was good enough for him to take the race leader's Maglia Rosa (pink jersey) off BMC's Rohan Dennis - who struggled on the first mountain-top finish of this year's race.

"I'm really happy with that", said Bennett, who finished third in each of Viviani's wins.

"It was very hard to get Viviani's wheel, everyone wanted that wheel, and we had to fight for it".

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"When Yates went I had to go (with him) but I had already gone three times before and I'm quite disappointed in myself".

The general classification remained unchanged as the main contenders took a step back from the spotlight on a day for the sprinters, with Mitchelton-Scott's Yates still leading by 16 seconds from defending champion Tom Dumoulin.

Team Sky's Chris Froome continued to be off the pace and is sitting in eighth place, 1m 10s behind Yates.

"The first day in pink was good", Yates told Eurosport afterwards.

Bennett, 28, produced another solid ride, finishing with a time of 4:16:37, just 26 seconds behind stage victor, Esteban Chaves of Colombia. A bit stressful at the final as always but OK. The finish point of the day on the mountain is the second category of MONTEVERGINE di Mercogliano with a length of 17.1 kilometer.

The Giro ends in Rome on May 27.

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