The Giro has now moved back to its homeland. We liked Israel, but you can’t mistake the tight lanes and stunning backdrop of Italia. The tifosi lined the streets from Sicily to Avellino, where the drama unfolded like a soap opera. The riders certainly didn’t keep to the script climbing the Montevergine di Mercogliano, as a few riders got shelled. After this chaotic stage, most riders were happy to put their feet up on the second rest day; George Bennett abandoned his recovery ride due to a downpour, giving us the chance to catch up with him by phone.
How’s the body?
It’s fairly rooted, but all things considered pretty good actually.
What’s the game plan from here?
Just don’t have a bad day, is the MO at the moment.
After Mount Etna (Stage Six) you were a little disappointed; can you talk us through that?
Yeah, I just did way too much. I had super legs that day and got carried away: I just attacked and attacked. Then they just eff’n whipped off after me. Well, Yates did. I mean, I was happy that I was strong – it would have been a good opportunity to have a stage result.
What’s the most critical stage in the next week of racing?
Between now and the next rest day it’s probably stage 14, Monte Zoncolan. That’s the real big one!
Out of the rivals, has there been anyone that you’ve thought their riding is unexpected?
Yeah, that Carapaz. I didn’t even think of him, or even know him before this race. But it’s probably the guys that I’m beating I am more surprised by – Froome obviously being the major one.
Is that a good mental boost?
Yeah, I mean it is, but there’s still six guys that are better than me. You can win one battle and lose six others. So it’s always good when someone cracks. But we haven’t even hit the hard stuff yet, so I’m keeping that in mind and just proceeding with caution.
Sam Bewley has had his foot on the pedal since Mitchelton-Scott took ahold of the Maglia Rosa.
Oh yeah, the “Wagon” has been doing some serious hero pulls on the front. Two days in a row they have basically controlled the break.
He must be protecting you as another Kiwi too?
I hope so, he better be! As much as I like to see him on the front it means I’ve got no one to talk to when he’s up there pulling.
What’s the feeling in the pelo between the GC rivals?
It depends on where you’re from, I mean in terms of the language barrier. I speak to most of the westerners and talk a lot; Yates and Chaves, these are guys I know off the bike as well. It’s definitely fierce competition, and some guys don’t get along. But essentially everyone has a lot of respect for each other.
(George begins to cut out as the team heads through a long tunnel)
Lastly, is there any Kiwi food that you have whilst you’re on tour?
Yeah, I do. I have Pic’s peanut butter. These slugs (Pic’s Peanut Butter Slugs) that I take around with me.
Do you ride with them?
Nah, just breakfast – start your day right!
We’ll catch up with George again on the next rest day of the Giro d’Italia.
Words & Images: Liam Friary & Brakethrough Media
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