The Tour Take | GIRO D'ITALIA Stage 7
1st – Sam Bennett
2nd – Elia Viviani
3rd – Sacha Modolo
Stage 7 provided a chance to roll the legs out after a tough start to the Giro – 164km along the coast from Pizzo to Praia a Marie, and hardly a lump all day. A 4km grinder at 4% came with around 15km to go, but it wasn’t enough to shake any of the sprinters. The sprint itself was on a long straight road; the final turn came with 1.8km to go, making for a proper drag race in the finish.
No change to any of the jerseys; S. Yates wears the Maglia Rosa, Viviani wears the Maglia Ciclamino, Chaves the Maglia Azzurra, and Carapaz the Maglia Bianca.
Davide Ballerini, Maxim Belkov and Markel Irizar made up the break; they got a 3 minute gap, but never looked like staying away from a peloton that was led by Bora, Willer-Trestina, and Quickstep. They were pulled back with 13km to go, leaving plenty of time for the sprinting frivolities. Perhaps the worst day of the Giro to roll the dice in the break to be fair.
The Winning move
Coming into the final 2km, Lotto Jumbo had the front of the peloton, with Danny Van Poppel sitting 3rd wheel – QuickStep and Viviani a long way back, while Sam Bennett was magnetized to his back wheel. With 1.2km to go, the pace slowed at the front, and Quickstep took the opportunity to come forward and drop Viviani off right behind Van Poppel.
Sacha Modolo opened the sprint proper with 300m left, and Viviani looked like the winner when he screamed past his Italian compatriot. But Sam Bennett had been tracking him for 5km at this point, and finally came around him with only 100m to go, taking his first grand tour stage win.
All the work coming from the back of the peloton in the final 3km probably hurt Viviani, but Bennett had to do all that work too and wasn’t affected. The Irishman just timed his fearsome kick perfectly.
The GC Movers and Shakers
No GC action in stage 7 after a wild day yesterday, today was like a port in a storm for the GC boys – the competition for pink will resume tomorrow.
60th – Jack Haig (56th on GC)
73rd – Ben O’Connor (12th on GC, 2nd on Young Riders)
76th – Rohan Dennis (6th on GC)
95th – Zak Dempster (113th on GC)
104th – Adam Hansen (71st on GC)
105th – Mitch Docker (127th on GC)
141st – Chris Hamilton (166th on GC)
Stage 8 will start in Praia a Marie and finish at Montevergine di Mercogliano, a category 2 climb. The finishing climb is 17 kilometers long but relatively steady with a 5.1% average. It’s a pretty consistent climb, with a few pitches at 10% on the lower slopes, but the top 9km doesn’t really change gradient at all while taking in around 20 hairpins.
With only the one climb on the menu, it’s not a super hard day, nor is the final climb super hard – it would be surprising to see the bunch explode on the Montevergine. We’ll take a punt on Dumoulin to win this one; he’s shown he can win the odd mountain stage when it’s finishing on a climb like this.