Stage 7 of Giro d’Italia pushes up the first mountaintop finish
As I tuned into the Stage 7 of the Giro, I thought Eurosport was playing a joke on the viewers and playing a replay of Stage 6 – the break was again out to over 8 minutes with about 80km to go to the finish.
I guess the peloton decided to play the “let’s try this again” game.
The peloton was slowly, but steadily taking time out of the break, however. It was clear that the pace was not that of yesterday, as the field stayed together late into the stage, falling apart on the final climb of the day.
I was really looking forward to watching the first mountaintop finish of the Giro and seeing how the climbing legs of some of the favorites would fare. The climb certainly didn’t disappoint – riders were flying off the front one after another.
At that pace, the pink jersey went out the back, and the lead was about to change for the fourth time in the first seven stages. How exciting!
All the major contenders sat quietly and worked to slowly draw all the breaks back. Lopez Herrada of Movistar was the last to get caught with just about 1km to go in the race. Then the fireworks came out in style.
Michele Scarponi of Lampre-ISD attacked from the front and was going for the win. His aim was definitely the 20-second bonus and whatever time gained on other GC contenders. He lost quite a bit of time in the first week, and needed to make it up.
However, Scarponi could not shake Paolo Tiralongo of Astana off his wheel. Tiralongo looked like he was fading, but attacked late and came around Scarponi for the stage win.
It was an exciting finish, but it nothing compared to what we’ll see in the last week, when peloton will tackle the toughest, steepest climbs of the Giro.
Frank Schleck of RadioShack Nissan and Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin Barracuda made a late move to catch Scarponi, but ran out of room to the finish line. It will certainly be interesting to see what form they bring to the mountains. And the effort was just enough for Hesjedal, who started the stage in third and rode himself into the GC lead and the pink jersey.
Garmin-Barracuda appear to be doing a lot of things correctly in this bike race.
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