Giro d'Italia: Bilbao wins stage 7

Pello Bilbao (Astana Pro Team) timed his attack to perfection to win a frenetic stage 7 of the Giro d'Italia to l'Aquila. The Spanish rider attacked with 1.5km to go and held off a concerted chase to beat Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale) and Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) by 5 seconds.

Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) held onto his race lead, thanks to some help from teams such as Trek-Segafredo, after a chaotic and blisteringly fast stage. Despite containing two classified climbs, the 185km stage averaged just over 45kph.

"It was a really important day for me today. It took a long time to get my first victory in a three-week race. This was only possible with a big team like Astana. Thank you to all of the team," Bilbao said after the stage. "It was a really big advantage (to have Zeits in the breakaway) because Andrey was pulling really hard. That's why we kept a gap to be more relaxed and to only think of the victory. He did impressive.

"[Getting into the break] was a little bit improvised. At first Dario was the man that had to go in the break, but today was really complicated to go in the break. In the end I also started to go in the big groups because we saw dangerous groups were going. I tried, I had legs, and until the end."

The stage was fast and furious right from the start and the winning move would not get away until after the halfway point. The break initially consisted of 12 riders, but dwindled to five as the riders took on the second category Le Svolte di Popoli. José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar) made it six when he caught and passed the leaders inside the final four kilometres.

The chasers remained calm and dragged the Movistar rider back before Bilbao made his attack with just 1.5 kilometres to go. After a brief pause as the others looked at each other, Mattia Cattaneo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) decided to chase down Bilbao. It looked like he might just take back the Astana rider, who appeared to be struggling on the last climb, but he did not have enough to bring Bilbao back.

In the end, Bilbao had just enough of a gap to hold the chasers off and take his first ever Grand Tour stage win.

How it happened

The grind of the opening week continued with another long-distance affair on stage 7. It might not have breached the 200km mark, but it was still a decent effort at 185km and with plenty of undulating terrain and two categorised climbs to contend with. Conti started the day with a 1:41 lead in the overall classification after finishing second on stage 6.

Following the first breakaway win of the race the day before, Friday's stage was expected to follow a similar format. However, in traditional Giro d'Italia fashion, it would not be so simple for the peloton as rider upon rider attempted to break clear of the bunch before being brought back.

Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy), Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) were among the many riders that attacked in the opening kilometres. By the first intermediate sprint, after almost 40 kilometres, a breakaway was still yet to form and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) was able to challenge for the sprint and add yet more points to his tally in the fight for the cyclamen jersey.

The frenetic string of attacks made for a blisteringly fast pace and it would take its victims, including Conti's teammate Fernando Gaviria. The pace was too much for the Colombian, who had been suffering with pain in his left knee for a few days. One of Primož Roglič's key men, Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma) would follow a little later after struggling in the cars for several kilometres.

With only five riders left to help him, it was left to Conti to help chase down several of the breakaway attempts. Mercifully for the Italian, Bahrain-Merida helped to make the chase at points but the pace remained relentless.

Some 80 kilometres into the stage and the race still hadn't settled down, while the average speed was close to 50kph. It wasn't until close to the halfway point that a group managed to get a sizable gap on the tiring peloton. Formolo sparked the move and several others would eventually follow, including Bilbao, Rojas, Cattaneo Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Andrey Zeits (Astana), Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale), Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe), Ruben Plaza (Israel Cycling Academy), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-Scott) and Sebastian Henao (Team Ineos).

After an exhausting first half to the stage, the peloton knocked off the pace and the leaders were able to build a reasonable advantage. Tired as they were, UAE Team Emirates and Conti still had to be wary of Rojas, who was a serious threat to the Italian's lead at just 2:12 down. The breakaway worked well together until they reached the climb of Le Svolte di Popoli, when riders began being distanced. Both De Gendt and Plaza were shown the back door from the peloton, while the sprinters were quickly distanced from the peloton.

A few riders lighter, the break continued to build their advantage and Rojas moved into the virtual pink jersey as it reached 2:15. That proved enough for Trek-Segafredo to spring into action and help UAE Team Emirates, sensing that they day might be about to run away from them. The big effort did some damage and took around 30 seconds out of the gap in quick order.

As the pressure was put on by the bunch behind, the lead group began to dwindle and with seven kilometres to go only five riders remained up front – Hamilton, Cattaneo, Formolo, Gallopin and Bilbao. Having worked well together earlier on, they began to attack each other in an attempt to reduce the numbers further.

Meanwhile, Rojas did not give up and worked his way back to the leading group inside the final four kilometres. After missing out the day before, he did not hang about and immediately went past the former leading group. He was eventually brought back, before Bilbao made a move with 1.5km remaining.

As they passed under the flamme rouge, the road began rearing up and would stay that way until the line. Cattaneo tried to follow Bilbao and looked like he might have the Spaniard, but Bilbao had just enough to stay away.

The peloton crossed the finish line just over a minute behind the leaders, ensuring Conti was safe in the pink jersey for at least another day.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team4:06:27
2Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:05
3Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 2 - Cell 2
4Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:09
5Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 4 - Cell 2
6José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:30
7Sebastian Henao (Col) Team Ineos0:00:48
8Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:01
9Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:01:07
10Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 9 - Cell 2
11Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 10 - Cell 2
12Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Katusha-AlpecinRow 11 - Cell 2
13Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 12 - Cell 2
14Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 13 - Cell 2
15Jan Bakelants (Bel) Team SunwebRow 14 - Cell 2
16Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro TeamRow 15 - Cell 2
17Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 16 - Cell 2
18Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-ScottRow 17 - Cell 2
19Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 18 - Cell 2
20Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 19 - Cell 2
21Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Team IneosRow 20 - Cell 2
22Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-ScottRow 21 - Cell 2
23Joe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education FirstRow 22 - Cell 2
24Sam Oomen (Ned) Team SunwebRow 23 - Cell 2
25Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 24 - Cell 2
26Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 25 - Cell 2
27Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Edward Dunbar (Irl) Team IneosRow 27 - Cell 2
29Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 29 - Cell 2
31Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 30 - Cell 2
32Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 31 - Cell 2
33Eros Capecchi (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 32 - Cell 2
34Ben O'Connor (Aus) Dimension DataRow 33 - Cell 2
35Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Education FirstRow 34 - Cell 2
36Ivan Sosa (Col) Team IneosRow 35 - Cell 2
37Victor De La Parte (Spa) CCC TeamRow 36 - Cell 2
38Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Team SunwebRow 37 - Cell 2
39Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-ScottRow 38 - Cell 2
40Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 40 - Cell 2
42François Bidard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 41 - Cell 2
43Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 42 - Cell 2
44Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team IneosRow 43 - Cell 2
45Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 44 - Cell 2
46Jai Hindley (Aus) Team SunwebRow 45 - Cell 2
47Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R La MondialeRow 46 - Cell 2
48Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 47 - Cell 2
49Hugh John Carthy (GBr) EF Education FirstRow 48 - Cell 2
50Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team SunwebRow 49 - Cell 2
51Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
52Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 51 - Cell 2
53Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 52 - Cell 2
54Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team EmiratesRow 53 - Cell 2
55Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 54 - Cell 2
56Davide Villella (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Dimension DataRow 56 - Cell 2
58Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma0:01:28
59Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team0:01:36
60Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:44
61Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 60 - Cell 2
62Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane0:01:58
63Matteo Montaguti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec0:02:07
64Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 63 - Cell 2
65Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJRow 64 - Cell 2
66Brent Bookwalter (USA) Mitchelton-ScottRow 65 - Cell 2
67Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 66 - Cell 2
68Ruben Plaza (Spa) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 67 - Cell 2
69Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana Pro Team0:02:11
70Paul Martens (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma0:02:26
71Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-AlpecinRow 70 - Cell 2
72Nicola Bagioli (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane0:02:58
73Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal0:03:10
74Guy Niv (Isr) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 73 - Cell 2
75Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:03:42
76Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 75 - Cell 2
77Jay Mc Carthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe0:04:11
78Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:04:30
79Nathan Brown (USA) EF Education First0:05:28
80Francisco Ventoso (Spa) CCC Team0:05:41
81Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma0:06:16
82Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 81 - Cell 2
83Manuel Senni (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 82 - Cell 2
84Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension DataRow 83 - Cell 2
85Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 84 - Cell 2
86Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 85 - Cell 2
87Andrea Garosio (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 86 - Cell 2
88Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 87 - Cell 2
89Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-AlpecinRow 88 - Cell 2
90Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 89 - Cell 2
91Jonnathan Narvaez (Ecu) Team IneosRow 90 - Cell 2
92Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 91 - Cell 2
93Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 92 - Cell 2
94Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC TeamRow 93 - Cell 2
95Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 94 - Cell 2
96Mirco Maestri (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:08:19
97Marco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 96 - Cell 2
98Chad Haga (USA) Team SunwebRow 97 - Cell 2
99Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-ScottRow 98 - Cell 2
100Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 99 - Cell 2
101Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-ScottRow 100 - Cell 2
102Jos van Emden (Ned) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 101 - Cell 2
103Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension DataRow 102 - Cell 2
104Josef Cerny (Cze) CCC TeamRow 103 - Cell 2
105Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:08:34
106Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Ineos0:08:48
107Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo0:09:16
108Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin0:09:56
109Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 108 - Cell 2
110Luca Covili (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:10:53
111Christian Knees (Ger) Team Ineos0:17:19
112Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar TeamRow 111 - Cell 2
113Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:17:25
114Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 113 - Cell 2
115Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 114 - Cell 2
116Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:17:30
117Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy0:17:33
118Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:18:06
119Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 118 - Cell 2
120Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 119 - Cell 2
121Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 120 - Cell 2
122Giovanni Lonardi (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-FaizaneRow 121 - Cell 2
123Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 122 - Cell 2
124Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 123 - Cell 2
125Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 124 - Cell 2
126Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension DataRow 125 - Cell 2
127Damiano Cima (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-FaizaneRow 126 - Cell 2
128Danilo Wyss (Swi) Dimension DataRow 127 - Cell 2
129Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJRow 128 - Cell 2
130Dmitrii Strakhov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 129 - Cell 2
131Conor Dunne (Irl) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 130 - Cell 2
132Awet Andemeskel (Eri) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 131 - Cell 2
133Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La MondialeRow 132 - Cell 2
134Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Education FirstRow 133 - Cell 2
135Kamil Gradek (Pol) CCC TeamRow 134 - Cell 2
136Scott Davies (GBr) Dimension DataRow 135 - Cell 2
137James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 136 - Cell 2
138Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 137 - Cell 2
139Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 138 - Cell 2
140Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJRow 139 - Cell 2
141Tom Bohli (Swi) UAE Team EmiratesRow 140 - Cell 2
142Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJRow 141 - Cell 2
143Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Nippo-Vini Fantini-FaizaneRow 142 - Cell 2
144Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJRow 143 - Cell 2
145Umberto Orsini (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 144 - Cell 2
146Sho Hatsuyama (Jpn) Nippo-Vini Fantini-FaizaneRow 145 - Cell 2
147Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 146 - Cell 2
148Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 147 - Cell 2
149Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 148 - Cell 2
150Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 149 - Cell 2
151Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 150 - Cell 2
152Sean Bennett (USA) EF Education FirstRow 151 - Cell 2
153Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 152 - Cell 2
154Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 153 - Cell 2
155Roger Kluge (Ger) Lotto SoudalRow 154 - Cell 2
156Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-FaizaneRow 155 - Cell 2
157Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data0:18:24
158Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal0:18:27
159Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:19:04
160Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:19:07
161Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 160 - Cell 2
162Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo0:27:18
163Will Clarke (Aus) Trek-SegafredoRow 162 - Cell 2
164Jakub Mareczko (Ita) CCC Team0:28:54
DNFLaurens De Plus (Bel) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 164 - Cell 2
DNFFernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team EmiratesRow 165 - Cell 2
DNFSacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education FirstRow 166 - Cell 2
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Points
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team25pts
2Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale18Row 1 - Cell 3
3Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe12Row 2 - Cell 3
4Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe