Bennett stopped the clock 3min 4sec behind stage victor Rohan Dennis to post the 56th fastest time The LottoNL-Jumbo rider now sits 10th place on the general classification standings, 7min 1sec back from leader Simon Yates who limited his losses to his closest rival Tom Dumoulin.
Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates said he was satisfied with his day after finishing the 34.2km stage from Trento to Rovereto in 22nd position.
"It really changes my tactics for the coming days, I think unfortunately for the fans I can be a lot more defensive", he added. The remaining sprinters will be hoping to bring things back together for a bunch sprint, but are likely to face a tough battle against the breakaway.
Dutchman Dumoulin, the world time trial champion, took 75 seconds out of Yates, but had started the day two minutes and 11 seconds down in second place.
However, Yates still leads Dumoulin by 56 seconds heading into the final five stages. "I came to the Giro to win a stage". "It wasn't the case, but I'm glad I could get one here today".
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Overall leader Yates lost less time to second placed defending champion Dumoulin than many observers had predicted. "I'd like to have a bigger gap, but I'm very satisfied with where I stand now". "To come here and repay the team for all their hard work and to jump back into the top ten is a big day for me". "The first half I felt good, I had a good rhythm and I felt I was going well, I wasn't losing so much time".
"It's pretty good to beat time-trialists like Tony Martin and Tom Dumoulin", Dennis said. My legs are better especially after yesterday's rest day.
Three decisive summit finishes in the Alps precede the final processional stage into Rome - but before then there's a potential banana-skin of a stage from Riva del Garda to Iseo.