Giro d’Italia Stage 7 – Caleb Ewan Dominates

Stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia saw the patrons of the peloton let three riders go clear, inc. Mark Christian before the race came together and Caleb Ewan absoluteley wacked the sprint!

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Giro d’Italia Stage 7 – Caleb Ewan Dominates

The rain had gone and the parcour for stage 7 was more suited to the sprinters than the climbers and so it was that the patrons of the peloton let three riders go clear quickly, including Marengo, Pellaud and the Isle of Man’s Mark Christian. The peloton had them on a short leash and after the stage Mark  said “being in a breakaway at the Giro is great, it’s an honour and it feels good. Today we managed to escape without too much difficulty. We knew that the group would not let us get to the finish but we worked well together and we were in the breakaway for many kilometres.”

Many kilometres indeed on a stage of 181 kilometres along the Adriatic coastline. On their way to the seaside town of Termoli, the breakaway were never given much of a gap with it yoyoing up and down as the peloton kept them insight before catching them 15 kilometers from the finish. The finish for the stage was as expected, both technical and quite a challenge for riders not to crash. Coming into the town, the GC teams were on one side of the road and the sprint teams on the other, and there were a lot of sharp bends ahead of them. Approaching the town, the riders were taking up all the road and then some, with at times, the grass being used along with any extra width to the road providing a safe surface for riders to move up or not crash.

Into the town though and the roads were narrower and at one point the road reared up and Albanese and Daniel Oss went clear of the sprinters. That move was neutralised leaving Oss on the front of the race until Gaviria took it up real early, gapping the rest as they looked at each other. Ewan realised there was no one going to bring it back and was first to react and gapped his rivals as he chased down Gaviria who like Ewan, is a multiple stage winner at the Giro.

Ewan eased slightly as he came up to the back wheel of Gaviria and then kicked again, gapping his rivals again and the Aussie sprinted well clear of Davide Cimolai who was second and Tim Merlier who finished third. GC hopeful Hugh Carthy finished minutes down but what ever the issue was, he was given the same time as the leaders and holds his 6th place overall.

Caleb Ewan: “Yes, smart and a lot of teamwork. I had all my guys there from a long way out because there was a few points in, I’d say, the last 10 km when we really needed to be at the front, so we don’t have to brake or anything and we got a really good ride.”

“And they did a really good job, and the most important point for me, I told them, was the start of the climb, because, yeah, if I got a free run through there, and a good run up the climb, then I save a lot of energy, and if I come from far back and to move up, then it would cost me a lot for my sprint and it was a super hard finish anyway”

“Yeah, my legs were absolutely burning in the end because I was basically sprinting from 450m to go. It was a slightly up hill so, yeah, it was a tough one. [Gaviria’s attack] If it was anyone else you probably would wait a little bit but you know that, you know, when he goes, he’s got the strength and the speed to hold it so, you know, I had to do it tactically, quite good, I didn’t want to accelerate super hard at the start. I left the gap a little bit and then, with about 200m to go, I had a bit of a gap to run at, and, er, yeah, then I really accelerated.”

His fifth Giro win …. I don’t really realise that. There’s a lot more I want to do in cycling, and I’m happy that every year I can come back here and still perform well, and I hope it continues like this into the future and I’m super motivated to get as many stages as I can.”

Attila Valter (Pink Jersey) Q: were you nervous today? A: “No, it was not so nervous like two days ago. I’m super happy. I feel lucky, I felt like it’s my day to enjoy the Maglia Rosa on a quite easy day. The team kept me all the time in the front, and in the end it was a super day. The end of race was hectic, but I felt a different rider in this jersey and I managed to stay quite in the front and stay out of trouble and tomorrow I can start again in this beautiful jersey which is a dream.”

“No, it was all stage I felt different. Normally I can climb well and do some sort of things well, but the positioning is not my strength and I think today was changed. I felt really respected in the peloton and I want to thank all the fellow riders to congratulate me and to let me pass through when I did it, so I felt a completely different rider, and then, best, in all the beautiful cities of Italy, with all the people cheering Maglia Rosa, I just had to realise every time that it’s me, the Maglia Rosa! It was incredible!”

Davide Cimolai (2nd): “This almost feels like a victory. It’s another second place but today I’m happy because I did my best and when you do your best, you’ve got to be happy. After the last uphill part, I took the wheel of Ewan and I just did my best to stay there. It’s hard to beat him when he’s on a good day like today but we will try again for sure!”

Tim Merlier: “I was a bit too far back in the last hectometers and I also didn’t feel that good today to be honest, a little bit tired. But the guys did an amazing job for me once again!”

Matteo Moschetti: “Today’s 4th place is a step forward, both as a result and as a performance. My feelings were good all day and that is the proof my form is good. It was a challenging finish, suited to my characteristics and ideal for those who don’t have a lead-out train. Most of the riders had to handle themselves. The final result is good, but there’s still a bit of regret. I had to spend more than I should have due to closing two gaps. I did my sprint anyway, even if the first two were too far.”

Max Kanter (10th) “Today we had another sprint stage,” said Kanter at the finish. “As expected, everything was controlled from the beginning with the three man breakaway. We then tried to settle down a bit in the peloton and we stayed together the whole stage. I think that went really good today. Towards the final it went a bit crazy again and it got really nervous but the guys did a good job and brought me forward well. I think we saw some steps that we made today and when we can continue to improve step-by-step, I think even more is possible for us.”

Peter Sagan who clashed with the barriers in the finish as he explains “I would say it was a bittersweet stage today. I had strong legs, I was feeling well and the squad was fantastic. They worked perfectly to keep me safe and position me, especially in the difficult final kilometres. I was in a good position for the sprint finish but a rider in front of me closed me into the barriers and there was little I could do.”

Dylan Groenewegen (7th) sees a good progress. “Of course I would like to win, but on such a finish as today I still miss race rhythm and hardness. The team was very strong today and did a really good job. We did exactly what we had discussed. I was brought into a good position at the foot of that climb, but I had nothing left for the sprint. But we will take the positive things with us and we will continue this line to the upcoming stages. I’ve definitely made progress and so has the team. It feels good to be back in the peloton and to feel like a cyclist again. I am already looking forward to the next sprint.”

Gaviria “I was up with the best riders again in the sprint and the condition is there so we’ll keep trying to go for that stage win.”

Andrea Pasqualon 5th: “The team was perfect in preparing for the sprint. The short climb two kilometers from the finish was the crucial point, and we were ideally position in the front of the peloton. The climb was done at full gas, then Gaviria attacked in the last two corners, which surprised me. I took the wheel of Cimolai’s as he was closing the gap, but like everyone else I was at the limit in the last 200 meters. I finally finished fifth, which is a great result for me, for the team. Against the best teams in the world, we have once again showed that we are here.”

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