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Saturday, May 13, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies

Les Woodland's book Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies: The rise and fall of bicycle racing's champions is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Giro d'Italia stage seven team race reports

We posted the report from GC leader Andreas Leknessund's Team DSM with the results.

Here's the report from Remco Evenepoel's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

The second of the Corsa Rosa’s seven summit finishes came and went, but just like the first one it didn’t bring any significant changes – in part due to the strong headwind – to the general classification, where the gaps between the main contenders continue to be the ones set on the opening day individual time trial.

Remco Evenepoel before the stage start. Sirotti photo

Second overall after a week of racing, Remco Evenepoel retained his position in the overall standings after crossing the line on Campo Imperatore with the main peloton, at the front of which Soudal Quick-Step pushed a steady tempo – with the likes of Mattia Cattaneo and Pieter Serry – on the mammoth climb which decided the winner of the stage. The victory went to Davide Bais (Eolo Kometa), from the day’s breakaway, while Evenepoel sprinted from the pack to finish fourth, a couple of minutes later.

“It was a long day, of more than six hours in the saddle. Near the top the temperatures were low and we had some headwind, so nobody tried anything. I knew the sprint wouldn’t change anything, but I did it to stay out of trouble and because it’s always better to finish among the first than with the last. Now I look forward to recovering before Saturday’s stage, which can be a hard one”, said Remco at the finish.

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Here's the Giro report from Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Primoz Roglic has finished fifth in the seventh stage of the Gran Sasso d'Italia. A duel between the favourites seemed inevitable, but the GC riders refused to budge. Early escapee Davide Bais won the stage.

The weather conditions were also a factor today, with strong winds and heavy rain at the start of the stage. Four riders broke away, and by the end, three were fighting for the stage win. Bais was the first to cross the line on the steep final kilometre.

A few minutes behind, the favourites in the peloton kept each other in check. Despite the steep gradients in the final kilometres, the favourites only picked up the pace in the last few hundred metres. Remco Evenepoel sprinted to fourth place with Roglic on his wheel. The pair led a group of around 30 riders.

Primoz Roglic finishes the stage. Sirotti photo

"The conditions made it almost impossible to do anything”, Roglic said after the finish. "But the legs felt good. That's a good sign. The wind picked up quite a bit, so it was not wise to attack from a big group. My teammates surrounded me well today and did a good job.”

Sports director Arthur van Dongen agreed that the stage was uneventful. "We were expecting a bigger group at the start. That was fine for us. There was a lot of headwind. As a result, nobody wanted to show what they were capable of. The favourites knew what to expect over the next two weeks, so they didn't want to waste too much energy. We look forward to the coming weeks with confidence, not least because Primoz made another solid impression today. The other riders also did well. Tomorrow we have another difficult stage on the programme, a stage we know from Tirreno-Adriatico”, Van Dongen said, referring to the so-called wall stage.

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Thibaut Pinot's Team Groupama-FDJ posted this Giro report:

Stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia did not cause the expected damage on Friday towards the Campo Imperatore, in Gran Sasso d’Italia. After forty kilometres of irregular climbing, the favorites let the breakaway fight for the victory and eventually only battled in the last kilometre. No gap was therefore made between the overall contenders, but Thibaut Pinot still took third place in the “bunch”, which meant sixth for the stage. Although he had to pass on his blue jersey to the stage winner Davide Bais, he gained two positions in the general classification (15th).

Pinot's Team Groupama-FDJ befre the start of stage six. Sirotti photo

After a week of racing, the Giro d’Italia returned to Abruzzo on Friday, with the first stage in the high mountains. The riders really gained height in this seventh day of racing, which took them almost 2200 meters above sea level in Gran Sasso d’Italia.

Thibaut Pinot surely knew what to expect, after taking second place there in 2018. The long and irregular ascent (47 kilometres) towards the Campo Imperatore was however only tackled after 171 kilometres. Surprisingly, a breakaway of three riders – initially of four – approached it with a huge gap of twelve minutes on the peloton. “The stage was rather quiet, especially at the start since there was no fight for the breakaway”, testified Stefan Küng. “Then, we especially needed to eat well and cover ourselves well because of the rain and the cold”. While Davide Bais (Eolo-Kometa), Karel Vacek (Corratec-Selle Italia) and Simone Petilli (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) were given the opportunity to fight for victory, the peloton remained quite relaxed, including in the ascent of Calascio (13.5 km at 6%), the first part of the final climb.

Thibaut Pinot was even able to score a few points for the “maglia azzurra”, as he did previously in the stage in Roccaraso. “We went for the remaining points since there were only four, then three men in front”, added Stefan. “Even if we knew that it was going to be hard to keep the jersey with the fifty points at the finish, it was still worth it to take them”.

After the first climb of the final, the bunch still included a hundred riders, and it didn’t reduce much until the last five kilometres, which were more demanding. It’s only with three kilometres to go that the action kind of started, while Davide Bais took the win at the summit. “We were all expecting a harder race today”, confessed Sébastien Joly. “In the end, the big teams really looked at each other. It shows that no one really wanted to expose themselves. It’s rather good news because it means that no one is really sure of their strengths, may it be collective or individual”. “We had to be careful on the last climb, but with the headwind, it was pretty calm in the peloton”, said Stefan, who stayed with Thibaut until the final slopes. “It really wasn’t very hard and so we had a pretty decent day, without accumulating too much fatigue”.

Thirty men eventually fought in the sprint in the last kilometre, and Thibaut Pinot snatched third place in the peloton behind Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglic, which meant sixth in the stage. “Even if it didn’t go very fast, it shows that Thibaut is up there”, said Stefan. “To be third in the sprint after more than six hours on the saddle is always a good sign”. “Even if he lost his blue jersey, it’s not a big deal”, added Sébastien. “In the end, we had a good day”.

Now behind Davide Bais in the mountain classification (86 points vs 50, editor’s note), the French climber however climbed two places overall and finds himself in fifteenth position on Friday evening. Tomorrow, a hilly and tricky final is anticipated in Fossombrone, where Thibaut Pinot also raced back in 2019 in Tirreno-Adriatico.

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And here's the Giro report from Team Bora-hansgrohe:

On the seventh day of racing, the Giro d’Italia returned to Abruzzo, where after 218 km a mountain finish awaited at Gran Sasso. The final ascent of the day had a length of more than 40 km with an elevation gain of over 2000m, and could therefore be considered the first real test for the GC riders. However, in the end the expected battle between the favourites didn’t eventuate.

The peloton gets rolling in the start city of Capua. Sirotti photo

A breakaway trio had a lead of more than 14 minutes and fought out the day's victory among themselves, while Team DSM controlled the pace for the overall leader A. Leknessund in the peloton. BORA - hansgrohe was attentively at the head of the group of favourites in the finale, but the pace was only increased in the last two kilometres, resulting in around 25 riders, led by Remco Evenepoel, finishing around 3 minutes behind the escapees. With Davide Bais taking the win from the break, Lennard Kämna and Aleksandr Vlasov finished the stage in 15th and 18th place and are now both in the top ten overall.

"It was a long day, which was made more difficult by the bad weather at the start. Admittedly it wasn't such an exciting race on TV today. I had expected that the other teams might have made a move on the final climb, but no one did. It could have perhaps been because there was headwind on the last ascent. In any event, our guys performed well, with Aleks and Lenny finishing in the GC group, so we have another mountain stage done and dusted now." - Enrico Gasparotto, Sports Director

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