(Reuters) - New Zealander George Bennett, riding for LottoNL-Jumbo, wrapped up the overall victory at the Tour of California on Saturday, finishing safely in the peloton on the seventh and final stage, won by American Evan Huffman.
It marked Bennett’s first WorldTour general classification win, while Rally Cycling’s Huffman outsprinted David López (Sky) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis, Solutions Credit) to the finish line in Pasadena for his second stage victory of this year’s race.
“It’s definitely a big stepping stone for me,” Bennett said. “I’ve been saying I want to get my hands up in the air and win a race. There is a lot of hope to take from this in confidence and backing from my team.
“I want to take this back to Europe and keep racing in the same manner. It’s a huge step up and I can start chipping away.”
Bennett completed the race in 22 hours, 54 minutes and 38 seconds, 35 seconds ahead of Poland’s Rafal Majka riding for Bora-Hansgrohe. American Andrew Talansky was another second behind for Cannondale-Drapac.
Huffman emerged from the breakaway for the second time this week to win the final stage and also tied Daniel Alexander Jaramillo for King of the Mountains points but the Colombian won the jersey based on better finishes on the hardest climbs.
The 77.7-mile stage through three climbs finished in front of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium with the breakaway beating the peloton, which included the top six riders in the overall classification, by 22 seconds.
Team Sky, led by American fifth-place finisher Ian Boswell, won the team title.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by John O'Brien