Tour de France: Kiwi George Bennett's Jumbo-Visma team wins time trial stage

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

Kiwi cycling ace George Bennett can call himself a stage winner at the Tour de France.

The 29-year-old and his Jumbo-Visma squad proved to be a winning combination in the Team Time Trial, around the streets of Brussels in Belgium.

Bennett, second from left, and his teammates celebrate.
Bennett, second from left, and his teammates celebrate. Photo credit: Getty

"It's a bit different to an individual one, but it’s still pretty cool. A lot of work went into that from the staff and the boys, it’s not something that we showed up and just happened to knock it out," he told Newshub.

His Dutch team powered to a 20-second victory, dominating defending champion Geraint Thomas and his stacked INEOS outfit over the 27.6-kilometre course.  

"I thought we had a chance of winning, but I didn’t think we’d win by that much."

It's the fourth time a New Zealander's won the team time-trial at the great race, following Chris Jenner (2001), Julian Dean (2011) and Paddy Bevin last year.

The evolution of Jumbo-Visma in the race against the clock has been helped by the savvy acquisitions of German time-trial star Tony Martin, and exciting Belgian Wout van Aert. 

"We already heard after the first time check we were ten seconds up, so we knew we were moving pretty well…when it's so fast a guy like me isn't really rolling on the front because the speed is so high and it’s more the bigger guys doing the work.

"I came in at the end when it hit a few hills."

The result continues the dream start for Jumbo-Visma, with their riders occupying the top five spots on the general classification.

Dutchman Mike Teunissen remains in the leader’s yellow jersey, while Bennett’s fifth, ten seconds off the pace. 

"Yeah that's going to change, you already saw that yesterday, I killed myself for 200km chasing the breakaway…at the moment it looks nice, but unfortunately it's going to be quite short lived.”

Despite his superb start, Bennett's focus remains on supporting leader Steven Kruijswijk, even if it’s tough to push aside his personal ambitions.

"That's quite hard to do, especially when you feel good and you've never been in such a good position…but that’s part of cycling, you need team-mates.”

While he's now clinched a memorable victory at the Tour de France, the Nelson rider's got unfinished business.

"I still want to get one with just my name on it too. It’s still pretty special though…it's not something that many guys get to experience.

"I'm lucky there's some pretty big riders in our team that dragged me along to be up on the podium at the end of the day.”

Tom Scully was the best of the other Kiwis, finishing sixth with his EF Education First team, while Paddy Bevin was a spot back in seventh with CCC.

Bevin is 31st in the GC, 41 seconds off the lead, while Scully is back in 114th, 1:32 behind the yellow jersey.

The race moves to France tonight (NZT), for a 205-kilometre grind to Epernay.