Team Sky's Chris Froome described himself as having an "absolutely clear conscience" after his historic Giro d'Italia win saw him become the first British man to win the race and add the triumph to last year's Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana victories.
"I really feel for Simon", Froome said.
But his presence was not without controversy as he was competing despite an ongoing investigation after returning an adverse analytical finding during his Tour of Spain win past year.
As long as he gets through the final stage without any hiccups, which he should as it is essentially a procession ride into Rome, Bennett will finish eighth.
Now, Froome is taking a short break before starting his preparations for the Tour de France, where he is seeking a record-equalling fifth victory and would also be the first man since the late Marco Pantani to win the Giro and Tour in the same year.
"Pinching myself! There were times over the last three weeks when I thought this wouldn't be possible".
"I came here for a lot more than that", said Bennett when reflecting on the past three weeks. "This is the dream to have all three jerseys in the space of ten months". That's an incredible feeling.
The four-time Tour de France champion takes a 46-second lead over defending champion Tom Dumoulin into Sunday's mostly ceremonial finish in Rome and is poised to win his third consecutive Grand Tour, matching the achievements of cycling greats Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault.
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Froome said on Eurosport: "I don't think it has quite sunk in yet, but I'm sure it will over the next few days once I've had a bit of time to reflect".
Riding in the gruelling race for the first time since 2010, Froome added the one Grand Tour missing from his collection. I have come back from four-minute deficits. The demands of the race are so different than any other race.
Ireland's Sam Bennett (Bora) sprinted to victory in the 21st and final stage, his third of this year's race, after pipping four-stage victor Elia Viviani (Quick Step) at the line after a 115km closed circuit race through the streets of the Italian capital.
"This was always going to be the biggest challenge of my career", Froome said, alluding to the "unpredictable" nature of the Giro.
Froome is racing under the cloud of a potential ban after a urine sample he provided at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol that was twice the permitted level.
The Briton has a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) allowing him to use salbutamol and escaped a provisional suspension, although the case has yet to be resolved by cycling's world ruling body the UCI. Froome fell twice including before the first stage and at one point trailed the leaders by almost five minutes. But he started to climb back up the standings by winning Stage 14 up Monte Zoncolan, one of the toughest climbs in Europe.
An extraordinary attack during stage 19 of the Giro led to Froome taking the leader's pink jersey from fellow Briton Simon Yates, who looked set for a maiden Grand Tour victory having worn the maglia rosa for nearly two weeks.