George Bennett led Team LottoNL-Jumbo to 10th overall in its first WorldTour race of the year, the 2015 Tour Down Under. Today in Adelaide, he moved up one spot and closed the Australian stage race 57 seconds behind overall winner Rohan Dennis (BMC).
"I'm happy that I'm responding well to the new training and everything I've done over the off-season," Bennett said.
"We still haven't really fired up, but that time will come starting next month. For me, it's been an enjoyable week."
Bennett closed the stage in Adelaide's city centre in 26th place. He was LottoNL-Jumbo's best-placed rider as a crash held up sprinter Barry Markus and others with one lap remaining in the 20-lap race.
"It's upsetting," Markus said, "I wanted to give it a try today, but with the crash, coming with just 4.5 kilometres to race, there was no time to recover."
Around 40 cyclists made it through. Wouter Wippert (Drapac) won the sprint.
"Marcel Kittel was involved in the crash and other guys too, including two of our men, Barry and Timo. The race for a lot of riders was over at that point," Sports Director Frans Maassen said.
"We had Bennett in the front, luckily. He could have easily lost a spot, which is what happened to his rival Tiago Machado (Katusha). As a result, he moved up to 10th."
Machado dropped from eighth overall to 12th due to the crash. New Zealand's Bennett closed the six-day stage race behind winner Dennis. Richie Porte (Sky) placed second and Cadel Evans (BMC) third.
"George is a new guy in the team," added Maassen. "He proved that he's a talented rider via a top 10 in the first WorldTour race of the year. That's good result.
"He worked hard this winter and this shows that he's in good condition. He wants to hold his form in races like Paris-Nice, Catalunya and the Giro d'Italia to help the other leaders.”