George Bennett of New Zealand won the 2017 Amgen Tour of California, which concluded this weekend with a 77.6-mile stage from the Mountain High Ski Area to Pasadena through the Angeles National Forest.

Bennett finished the seven-stage, 583-mile race 35 seconds ahead of Rafal Majka of Poland. Andrew Talansky of Napa was third, 36 seconds behind Bennett Saturday.

“Today is really special,” said Bennett, whose leads over Majka and Talansky were the same at the start of the stage. “I had a few hours last night to let it sink in, and then it clicked over to business time, and we knew we had a job on our hands today, and we were up to the task. It’s really relieving to be over the line and still have this jersey on.”

Like in the Tour de France, the Amgen Tour of California’s overall leader wears a yellow jersey.

Bennett completed the race which began Sunday in Sacramento in 22 hours, 54 minutes, 38 seconds.

Bennett was among 23 cyclists credited with a time of 2:37:50 on Saturday, as were Majka and Talansky. Bennett finished 24th, Majka 17th and Talansky 16th.

Evan Huffman of El Dorado Hills won in 2:37:28, with David Lopez Garcia of Spain second with the same time.

Saturday’s stage included several downhill portions along with approximately 6,400 feet of climbing. The cyclists descended on Angeles Forest Highway into La Canada Flintridge. A long straightaway headed into the finish in front of the Pasadena Convention Center.

Bennett entered Friday’s stage, a 14.9-mile time trial at Big Bear Lake, six seconds behind Majka, but completed the stage 41 seconds faster than Majka. Bennett was fourth in the stage in 28:45 minutes. Majka was 22nd in 29:26. Jonathan Dibben of Great Britain won in 28:27.010.

–City News Service

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