Louis Meintjes was Team Dimension Data's main focus heading into the Giro d'Italia, but it has been Ben O'Connor who has put in the best showing for the team so far. Bennett was the last to launch his sprint but the Irish rider managed to edge out Elia Viviani and claim his first win in a Grand Tour.
The two rode in sync to the line where Chaves was given right of passage to take the stage win by the Briton. Niccolo Bonifazio was third at the end of the flat 159-kilometer route along the Calabrian coast from Pizzo to Praia a Mare.
"The first few stages I got the timing a bit wrong. I had the power, I knew what I was capable of, but it's one thing having the belief and another thing doing it", said the Carrick-on-Suir man.
"It was very hard to get Viviani's wheel, everyone wanted that wheel, and we had to fight for it".
On the 15 kilometre final climb on Mount Etna, Bennett was stronger than a huge array of pre-race favourites, shining brighter than the likes of Chris Froome, Tom Dumoulin, Fabio Aru and Miguel Angel Lopez.
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Froome is now eighth in the generation classification, one minute and 10 seconds behind Yates.
Meanwhile Yates, Chaves, and the rest of Mitchelton-Scott were able to sit in the bunch and reflect on the successes of Thursday - although they won't be able to enjoy this luxury for much longer as they take a slim lead of just 16 seconds into the weekend. "I'm not that far behind the leaders, and what I'm thinking is that if I can stay somewhat within reach, then hopefully I can still perform quite well, and the [stage 16] time trial will help me out as well". "For us as a team it was ideal".
'It felt really good, ' said the Bury rider. "It was a little bit stressful in the final but it's always like that". At one stage I thought Quickstep had gone too early and they were looking back to check me out and I was wondering were they trying to panic me and get me to go early again.
Stage eight tomorrow will consist of a 209km mountain stage from Praia a Mare to Montevergine.