George Bennett surprises himself and takes lead in Tour of California after Stage 6

In a parking lot off of Big Bear Boulevard, long before his start time in Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California, George Bennett of New Zealand emerged from a Team LottoNL-Jumbo RV and took a seat on an ice chest.

Bennett, who lives in Girona, Spain, and mostly races in Europe, kicked back and raved about the scenery, culture and fun nature of the first five stages of the race.

But when the 27-year-old was asked about the individual time trial, 15 miles around Big Bear Lake Friday on a picturesque spring day, he didn’t pull any punches.

“There were way better options for the course,” Bennett said.

Sharp turns made the course seem dangerous, Bennett said, and the altitude at 6,742 feet made it difficult to push limits because of a lack of oxygen and vision could become impaired while pedaling at speeds around 30 mph.

“It’s not a time trial run particularly,” Bennett…

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