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Giro d'Italia 2019: Stage 7

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Hello, as the CN blimp take height, the riders are in the neutralised section, they face 6.4km behind the race director's car before the flag drops and the 195km stage begins. 

The sun is out on the Adriatic coast in Vasto, with a breakaway again expected to shake up the stage.

 

The 185km stage follows the coast till Ortona and then heads inland to Chieti and then on to L'Aquila. 

The stage includes just one categorised climb after 138km but it will be a hard day out in the Abruzzo hills.

 

The stage finishes in L'Aquila to remember the massive earthquake that hit the Italian city on April 6, 2009.  

 

308 people lost their lives, with 1500 people in injured. 65,000 people were made homeless and many are still living in temporary homes as the city is rebuilt.

 

 

 

The flag has dropped and the race is underway.

 

The speed is high as riders try to get into the break. Ten riders try their hand but are quickly pulled back.

 

Ineos, EF and Deceuninck are up front, trying to get into the moves.

 

Even Italian national champion Elia Viviani is trying to get in the moves.

 

A group of 19 riders have a gap but the peloton is chasing them down.

 

In contrast to yesterday, when Primoz Roglic let the break go after his crash, new race leader Valerio Conti is keen to keep the jersey for as long as possible. 

 

Conti and his UAE Team Emirates will be looking to let a break go but containing riders who are not a threat to his maglia rosa.

 

167km remaining from 185km

The 19 refuse to give up but lead by just 50 metres or so.

 

After yesterday's changes in the Gc, Valerio Conti is in the maglia rosa.

 

Surprisingly he is the first Italian in pink since Vincenzo Nibali won the Corsa Rosa in 2016.

 

This is the general classification after stage 6:

 

        
1 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 25:22:00
2 Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:01:41
3 Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:09
4 José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:12
5 Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:02:19
6 Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Team 0:02:45
7 Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:03:14
8 Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:03:25
9 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:03:27
10 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:04:57

 

165km remaining from 185km

Gruppo compatto. The peloton is all back together.

 

These are the jersey wearers today.

 

 

Stage 6 winner Fausto Masnada is also in the shot to celebrate his success. The Italians hold all the jerseys except the points cyclamen-coloured jersey worn by Pascal Ackermann (Bora). 

 

The riders are happy to be riding in the sun today. It's close to 20C on the coast and the weather is expected to stay dry all day and at the finish in L'Aquila. 

 

Conti was the centre of attention at the start in the maglia rosa.

 

 

There are more attacks but the peloton keeps closing them down.

 

155km remaining from 185km

The Italian teams are also in the attacks today, keen to chase a chance of a stage victory.

 

Conor Dunne has joined two Italian riders up the road.

 

The Irish champion is trying to drag the move away but the peloton is coming after them.  

 

Gruppo compatto yet again.

 

After racing along the coast, the riders turn off the main road and head into the hills. 

 

This could be the moment the break goes away.

 

The intermediate sprint is coming up, so perhaps the sprinters will ease after that.

 

146km remaining from 185km

Ackermann is up front to defend his points jersey.

 

Indeed Ackermann wins the sprint and takes maximum points. 

 

Nobody challenged him and so he extends his lead in the cylamen jersey.

 

The race now heads inland from Ortona, with some riders trying to push on. 

 

Kristian Sbragli goes for Israel. He's got a gap but others are trying to come across to him.

 

141km remaining from 185km

The peloton closes down the chasers and Sbaragli.

 

There is a slight tailwind and so it is helping the attacks but also the chase.  

 

The Velon on-bike data reveals that race leader Conti covered the first 20km at 55km/h as the attacks came thick and fast.

 

Now Campenaerts uses his TT skills to attack. Others go with him but the peloton refuses to ease and the elastic doesn't snap.  

 

135km remaining from 185km

A group of 25 riders are pulled back but some of them kick again.

 

It's interesting to see that Mitchelton-Scott keep putting riders in the attack. 

 

Is Simon Yates trying to set up a move later? 

 

The attacks continue and Rafal Majka has a go on a short rise. The pace is really high with the average speed of 50kph. 

Big news, Fernando Gaviria has just abandoned the Giro d'Italia. 

 

That is a massive loss for UAE Team Emirates, who already lost another rider earlier in the race. That means that Conti only has five riders to help him look after the pink jersey. 

 

While all of this is going on, a group of riders has gone up the road and UAE Team Emirates are chasing hard in the peloton.

 

UAE Team Emirates have confirmed that Gaviria has abandoned due to left knee pain. 

 

116km remaining from 185km

Bahrain-Merida are helping with the chase and the peloton has is strung out in a long line. In the meantime, the leaders have built a gap of one minute. 

 

114km remaining from 185km

Other riders are trying to go across to the attack but 19 riders but Bahrain is trying to close it down. 

 

Amongst the 19 are Rojas, Gallopin, Bilbao, Izagirre, Agnoli, Benedetti, Schwarzmann, Honoré, Modolo, Carthy, Madouas, Plaza, Sbaragli, De Buyst, Van der Sande, Narvaez, Juul-Jensen, Hindley and Gogl.

 

Bahrain have also called up Pozzovivo to help with the chase. It will be interesting to understand who they feel in the break and and why. 

 

Nibali perhaps remembers what happened the last time that the Giro visited L'Aquila. 

 

Then a break got away and gained 12 minutes.

 

103km remaining from 185km

Gruppo compatto. Or almost. 

 

Perhaps there's a reason why Bahrain rode so hard. Laurens De Plus has retired.

 

He was a key rider for Roglic and Jumbo but has been ill for several days.

 

Roglic is at the back of the peloton, probably trying to help De Plus.

 

As they say... There's never a quiet day at the Giro d'Italia.

 

100km remaining from 185km

With 100km to race, there are yet more attacks. Riders are still trying to get away and form the break of the day. 

 

Davide Formolo is dragging a move away.

 

He's perhaps working to take the intermediate points to protect Ackermann's lead but he's also a threat overall.  

 

The peloton has eased but Conti is on the front with Ulissi. It is up to them to chase the attacks if they want to defend the maglia rosa.

 

Gallopin, Bilbao are with Formolo, plus others as they reach Chieti. 

 

They now face 50km on the flat valley road to the foot of the climb. It will be interesting to see if they stay away.

 

Also in the attack are Plaza (Israel), De Gendt (Lotto), Rojas and Carretero (Movistar), Cattaneo (Androni), Sebastian Henao (Ineos), Jay McCarthy is there with Formolo for Bora, plus Lucas Haimlton (Mitchelton-Scott). 

 

91km remaining from 185km

The break lead by 40 seconds as UAE try to lead the chase. 

But having lost Molano a few days ago due to strange blood values and Gaviria climbing off due to a knee problem, Conti only has four teammates and they have already done a lot of chasing.

 

Upfront the breakaways are working smoothly together. They are trying to gain more and more time.

 

87km remaining from 185km

Rojas is the biggest threat to Conti's pink jersey. The Spaniard is only 2:12 down overall. 

Rojas is not the virtual race leader yet and it has to be seen if he can stay away on the later climbs. 

 

The riders are close to the feed zone now. The break will no doubt snatch their musettes while the peloton will ease.  

 

UAE have four on the front now. But the gap is up to 1:30.

Surely the other GC teams will start to help the chase soon. They can't let Formolo gain time so easily.

 

Formolo has McCarthy with him in the attack, to help with the work, while Bilbao has Zeits. 

 

Behind Ciccone takes a quick bike change just as he passes near his home town. 

 

Ciccone is in the blue mountain's jersey but should keep it today if the breakaways take away the points on the only climb of the day. 

 

Formolo lost some seconds to Roglic in the Bologna TT and on the hectic finish to Frascati.

 

He is 1:06 down on the Slovenian and little less on Nibali and Yates.

 

78km remaining from 185km

Riders have collected lunch and quickly drinking and eating. They have had little time to drop back to the cars for bidons in the aggressive, fast first part of the stage.

 

75km remaining from 185km

The break leads by 1:32 now. 

 

70km remaining from 185km

The peloton has settled into a constant chase now, with the gap at 1:30.

 

The next key moment will be on the climb of Le Svolte di Popoli with 46km to go.

 

66km remaining from 185km

UAE have three riders on the front leading the chase. They're refusing to give up but the gap has grown to 1:40.  

 

Some huge wind turbines show there is some wind today but it is blowing the riders towards L'Aquila.

 

58km remaining from 185km

Up front Formolo keeps tapping through and doing his work on the front.

 

We can expect him to go on the attack on the climb. Tho there are other strong riders in the attack.

 

These are all the riders in the break: 

 

Antonio Pedrero, José Rojas (Movistar), Tony Gallopin (Ag2r La Mondiale), Mattia Cattaneo (Androni-Sidermec), Pello Bilbao, Andrey Zeits (Astana), Davide Formolo, Jay McCarthy (Bora-hansgrohe), Ruben Plaza (Israel Cycling Academy), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-Scott) and Sebastian Henao (Team Ineos). 

 

53km remaining from 185km

It's almost time for the climb. The Le Svolte di Popoli is almost 10km long.   

52km remaining from 185km

The race jury has pulled out the team cars behind the break in case the peloton closes the gap on the climb. 

The peloton is riding steady for now but the race could explode. Some GC riders have teammates up front to help them drive to the finish if they attack nearer the top. 

 

50km remaining from 185km

De Gendt has been dropped from the break.  

 

Behind Ackermann sits up from the peloton. 

 

45km remaining from 185km

The break is losing riders on the climb.

 

However the gap is growing on the peloton.

 

The break is over the top of the climb and on the high-road plain. 

 

40km remaining from 185km

De Gendt was caught by the peloton but the break is working smoothly together. 

 

With UAE using up their riders for the chase, it is going to be hard for Conti to hold not pink.  

 

UAE is dragging the peloton along but will surely run out of riders sooner or later. 

This is thrilling stage racing, with complex tactics in play. 

 

35km remaining from 185km

The peloton is lined out but the break is still working smoothly together.

 

They have joint interests and they all want a stage victory.

 

30km remaining from 185km

There's a moment of peace before the expected attacks in the finale. 

The final climb, 9km from the finish will surely see attacks in the break and perhaps even amongst the GC contenders. 

The stage has been so fast and so aggressive that someone could crack and lose time.

 

Upfront the break leads by 1:55. Tat puts Rojas close to being virtual race leader.

 

He is only 2:12 down on Conti 

 

Diego Ulissi is still dragging the peloton along. 

 

26km remaining from 185km

The race heads to L'Aquila on main roads but then turns right with 9km to go and climbs Via della Poveriera. 

 

It is 5km long at 5% but is much steeper early on.

 

25km remaining from 185km

Here we go! Trek hit the front and up the pace.

 

The gap was at 2:10 when Trek hit the front. 

 

Bardiani are working too, to perhaps defend Carboni's best young jersey. 

 

Trek are perhaps riding to try to win the stage but it's late to close a 2:00 gap. 

 

23km remaining from 185km

As an extra twist, the stage ends with a 7.6% 1km climb to the line. 

 

Trek are perhaps riding for Bauke Mollema but that's a a big ask for the Dutchman. 

 

Trek are perhaps also riding for Ciccone. But can he really win on the 1km climb to the line? 

 

15km remaining from 185km

The biggest benefactor of the Trek chase is Valerio Conti of UAE.

He is now back as virtual race leader. The gap to the break is down to 1:25. 

 

Bike change for Ben O'Connor. 

 

The Dimension Data leader perhaps has a flat. That could cost him time.

 

12km remaining from 185km

The climb is just 3km away and Mitchelton-Scott hit the front. 

 

Katusha is also up front, riding for Battaglin.

 

11km remaining from 185km

The gap to the break is just 1:11 with 11km to go.

 

10km remaining from 185km

Nibali and Roglic are also up front. This could blow up in any moment.

9km remaining from 185km

Zeits does a final turn up front and eases up. 

 

9km remaining from 185km

O'Connor is back on but the speed is sky high as they near the climb. 

 

8km remaining from 185km

Roglic is on Yates' wheel as the bunch starts the climb.

 

Hamilton surges to split the break.

 

Rojas is dropped. His dream of taking pink is over.

 

Henao is dropped too.

 

Tao Geoghegan Hart needs a bike change at the back of the peloton.

 

7km remaining from 185km

Hugh Carthy attacks from the peloton.

 

6km remaining from 185km

Formolo and Cattaneo go on the attack.

 

The attackers are now on the descent to L'Aquila. 

 

5km remaining from 185km

Fiver up front: Hamilton, Formolo, Gallopin,  Bilbao and Cattaneo.

 

They keep attacking each other to try to win the stage.

 

Rojas joins them on the descent but there is still the kick-up to the finish. 

 

4km remaining from 185km

Rojas plays his last card with a last attack.

 

The Spanish veteran is trying to anticipate the final attacks.

 

2km remaining from 185km

Rojas reaches the tight turn. But the others are onto him.

 

It's time for the uphill finish.

 

1km remaining from 185km

Bilbao goes and Formolo eases up. 

 

1km remaining from 185km

Bilbao has a gap as the road kicks up.

 

Cattaneo goes after him.

 

This is not over. 

 

Bilbao leads but they can see him.

 

Bilbao sprints to the line.

 

He's tired but he makes it and wins!

 

He has time to celebrate and punches the air. 

 

Gallopin takes second, Formolo third.

 

Here comes the bunch. 

 

It's a big group and no attacks from the GC guys, so a tired but happy Conti keeps the maglia rosa. 

 

It's chaos beyond the finish as riders stop after a fast, hard day in the saddle.

 

The stage finished 15 minutes ahead of the fastest schedule.

 

The peloton finished 1:07 down on Bilbao and so there were no major changes to the GC.

 

This is the top ten on the stage

 

1 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 4:06:27
2 Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:05
3 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
4 Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:09
5 Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
6 José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:30
7 Sebastian Henao (Col) Team Ineos 0:00:48
8 Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:01
9 Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:07
10 Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec

 

The average speed for the 185km stage was 45.039km/h!

 

This is the updated GC after stage 7



1 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 29:29:34
2 José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:32
3 Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:01:41
4 Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:09
5 Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:02:17
6 Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Team 0:02:45
7 Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:03:14
8 Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:03:25
9 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:03:37
10 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:04:57

 

As the dust settles on the stage, the riders try to recover after a hard day out. 

 

Pello Bilbao seems shocked but happy to win. 


"I knew I could attack my rivals," he said.

 

"Formolo was the rider to beat but I sensed he was feeling the pressure to win. I waited for my DS to tell me when to go and went.

 

"It was a long final kilometre but I had something left and could win." 

 

Conti pulls on his second pink jersey but had to suffer to get it.  

 

Conti said:

 

"I went on the attack at one point because the race was going away from us. We expected a hard stage but it was harder than we had imagined."

 

"I have to thank all the guys one by one, for all the work they did today. Ulissi encouraged me to dig, deep, deep and I did. I kept telling myself to hang on and keep the jersey. I’m so happy I did."

 

Formolo will be gutted not to win the stage but he at least gained 1:07 on his GC rivals. 

 

He is now 13th at 5:24 but on exactly the same time as Primoz Roglic. He pulled back all the time he lost in the Bologna time trial and so it was a profitable day out.

 

This is one of the first shots of Bilbao winning in L'Aquila.

 

 

Post stage Ben O'Connor talked about his late puncture and the aggressive start to the stage. 

 

It was nasty at the start, the break took almost two hours to go, there was a lot of big groups and a lot of panic," he said.

 

"In the end there were a lot of good climbers in there and they only just won I think. I had a flat just before the last climb, which wasn’t ideal but Amanuel (Ghebreigzabhier) and Ryan (Gibbons) dropped back straight away and thanks to them we got back on within two kilometres, pretty much as soon as we hit the climb. I didn’t lose time."
 

 

This photo explains the stage finish. Bilbao got a gap at the start of the time and managed to stay away. 

 

 

Fortunately Bilbao had time to celebrate.

 

 

 

Conti suffered but kept the maglia rosa.

 

 

To check out our full photo gallery and stage report, click here.

 

 

After yesterday's finish in San Giovanni Rotondo, the Giro d'Italia is returning north towards the Emilia Romagna region where it started on Saturday. 

Saturday's 8th stage is from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro.

It is the longest stage of the 2019 Giro d'Italia at 239km long but mainly along the Adriatic coast, with only a few Cat 4 climbs late on.   

 

Thanks for joining us today. We'll have exclusive news and interviews from Barry Ryan and Alasdair Fotheringham on the ground in L'Aquila very soon. 

We'll also have live coverage of today's racing the Tour of California. Both the men's and women's races finish atop Mount Baldy. 

We'll have full live coverage of stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia on Saturday. 

 

Arrivederci!

 

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