Giro d'Italia 2020: Stage 7 preview

Stage 7: Matera to Brindisi

Date: October 9, 2020 

Distance: 143km 

Stage start: 13:00pm CEST

Stage type: Flat

This is the second-shortest road stage of the corsa rosa and probably its easiest - “Bunch sprint” is written all over it. The only hill of note is at the start, the route dropping from Matera and heading east towards the port of Taranto, Italy’s main naval base and, 2,500 years ago, one of the world’s biggest cities.

It’s the location for the first intermediate sprint, the second arriving just 25km later at Grottaglie. Between there and the finish in Brindisi, 50km to the east, there’s barely a rise of any note as the route crosses Italy’s heel. The roads are straight and wide, the wind the only possible complicating factor. 

The finale will suit the sprinters too. The route takes the riders to the east of Brindisi and brings them into the Adriatic city from that direction. Once the bunch has turned this way, its course will barely deviate, the final 1,200 metres running straight as an arrow to the line.

Almost 50 years have passed since the Giro last paused in Brindisi. In 1971, the race began with a 62.2km team time trial from Lecce to Brindisi that was won by Felice Gimondi’s Salvarani team. The following stage set out from Brindisi with Bari as its ultimate destination.

The race has visited other towns and cities in this part of Puglia on a number of occasions since that now-distant test. Given the flat topography, it’s not too surprising that it has favoured sprinters. Mario Cipollini won in Ostuni in the 1996 race immediately after it had transferred from its Grande Partenza in Greece. Eight years later, American Freddie Rodriguez took the only Grand Tour success of his long career at Carovigno.

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