George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) says that he’s lucky to be alive after he was hit by a car on the eve of the Tour of the Alps. The New Zealand rider was out with teammate Koen Bouwman doing a recon of the Giro d’Italia’s stage 16 time trial, which takes place just down the road from the first stage of the Tour of the Alps between Trento and Rovereto when a car turned into his path.
It was clear even 24 hours later that Bennett was still coming to terms with what he had been through, particularly with the memory of what had happened to Michele Scarponi this time last year.
“I was going pretty fast on the time trial doing a recon for the Giro,” Bennett explained to Cyclingnews while warming down after the first stage. “I was riding fast and a car was coming the other way. It didn’t see us, and it turned left across the road and I went straight into the side of him and I went over. Luckily I went over the car but I ripped the roof rack off with my knees.
“I was really lucky with how it happened. I’m lucky to be alive I think. It could have been me in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I did a lot of thinking last night. It is pretty close to the anniversary of Scarponi and that’s pretty much what happened to him, and my friend Lowndsy [Jason Lowndes] died. It was a bit of a shock and this morning when I woke up I definitely knew that I’d been hit by a car.”
The only visible signs of Bennett’s crash was some heavy strapping on both of his knees. While he is feeling a little bit battered and bruised, he says that he will be OK for his upcoming general classification bid at the Giro d’Italia.
“Generally, I’m fine. My left knee I was a bit worried about and my left arm. The good thing is, I’m sore everywhere but nothing is really bad. I’m very happy not just for this race but for the Giro, there were a few panicked staff at Lotto-Jumbo last night,” he said.
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