Kiwi cyclist George Bennett pulls out of Vuelta a Espana

Kiwi cyclist George Bennett.
Kiwi cyclist George Bennett. Photo credit: Getty Images

New Zealand road cyclist George Bennett has withdrawn from the Vuelta a Espana due to an ongoing illness.

After 11 stages Bennett was in 158th place, more than two hours behind leader Chris Froome, and is still struggling with the virus that forced him to pull out of the Tour de France six weeks ago.

And the illness may force the 27-year-old to pull out of the World Championships in Norway later this month.

Bennett, who is due to participate in the time trial, told Newshub he was "not particularly confident" he would able to participate.

"We will see. We have lots of meetings to get through in the next few days and at the moment I'm just trying to get home.

"We should have news in a couple of days, but it is a shitty way to end the year."

The LottoNL-Jumbo rider admitted he returned to the bike too quickly and has not been able to fully recover after a short turnaround.

"It was a super frustrating build-up, couldn't get right and kept getting crook and run down.

"We came here hoping that I'd ride through it, but it kept getting worse and worse.

"We sat down after the stage last night with a couple of directors and we decided before I did myself any damage they wanted to get me out of there.

"I would get up in the morning, get on my bike and my legs were buggered and you'd just crumble after two-three hours of racing every day.

"I'm losing 30-40 minutes on stages where I'm usually in the top 10 and that is a sign that something is not right."