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George Bennett battling illness in quest to help teammate win Tour de France

He's covered almost 2500 kilometres in nearly 66 hours in the saddle, 62 of them with a suspected broken rib.

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The Kiwi cyclist continues to be a key member of the Jumbo Visma team in the Tour de France. Source: 1 NEWS

But one of the toughest fortnights in George Bennett's cycling career has been made even harder.

The New Zealand cyclist continues to be a key member of the Jumbo Visma team, helping Primoz Roglic into the Tour de France yellow jersey, all while battling an illness as well as the rib injury.

“Just a classic virus, not the Covid strain and yeah, finally got over that and probably had my first good day of the tour yesterday,” Bennett told 1 NEWS about his illness.

Needless to say, he's enjoyed the tour's second rest day overnight, having crashed twice on the opening stage.

Things were already bad enough for Bennett before he got sick.

“It was hard enough recovering from injuries because you just don'thave the resources I guess and all the energy just goes into getting through the mountains and this one's been hanging around for just over a week now,” he said.

While Bennett says tonight’s stage should be okay, tomorrow's is a different story.

“The day after's a really filthy stage - we had a training camp here before the tour as part of the preparation,” he said.

“We re-conned the stage and it's just one of the worst climbs I've ever done in my life, if we're going to come unstuck, it's going to be on that stage.

To avoid that, Bennett says he needs to fight hard to be with his team until the end.

“To win the Tour de France you need everybody there, everybody firing and you need a whole team around Primoz and you know he hasn't really been tested as such and there's going to be a moment this week where he gets in a bit of trouble and he needs us to bail him out.”