Andrew Talansky won the fifth stage of the Tour of California, holding off race leader Rafal Majka at the end of a grueling climb to the finish just below the summit of Mt. Baldy on Thursday.
Pole Majka, riding for Bora-Hansgrohe, will take a six-second lead over Lotto NL-Jumbo's George Bennett into Friday's 15-mile individual time trial at Big Bear Lake.
Bennett, 27, stopped the clock in 28:45 for the 15 mile effort, good enough for fourth place on the day, just 18 seconds down on stage victor Jonathan Dibben (Sky), himself a time trial specialist.
Brent Bookwalter (BMC) finished second after his strong ride against the clock and Mt. Baldy climb victor Andrew Talansky (Cannondale) placed third in the time trial.
"It's been a different sprint today and a hard sprint indeed but thanks to my team I managed to go back up and win one more stage", said the 22-year-old Gaviria, who rides for Quick-Step Floors.
Majka's disappointing time of 29:26 dropped him 35 seconds behind Bennett into second overall.
Bennett must now protect his lead during Saturday's final stage, which starts at Mountain High ski resort and finishes in downtown Pasadena. Today I can't believe it man, I just went. "It is going to be full gas racing". "To me it means that I came to the Giro well prepared".
"I think George said it was disbelief, and I can certainly tell you it's certainly a bigger shock for me", Dibben said. He started Friday in fourth place, 44 seconds off the lead. "I had to let the pain come to me".
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. "When I looked at the profile of the course it was fast, furious, and you needed a lot of power today and that's not what I have".
"The wind made me nervous sometimes", Dumoulin said.
"When I crossed the line, all the cameras were coming and stuff and I thought [sic] maybe I did something good and nek minute I'm wearing the yellow jersey".
"Obviously I was pretty frustrated", Bennett said, "I put a lot of expectations on myself".
The first of the riders hit the course just after 1 p.m. followed by the rest of the field in 1-minute increments. "For most of the day it was side wind".