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Giro d’Italia. Stage 7. Flat stage ahead of climbing weekend

After yesterday’s first test in the mountains on the Etna volcano and ahead of two more climbing stages on this weekend, today’s flat stage 7 (Pizzo – Praia a Mare, 159 km) provided to the riders a good possibility to breathe a bit and to save some energy in the legs.

Mostly calm day with a traditional 3-men breakaway and a very fast and nervous final ended with a well-expected massive sprint, won by Sam Bennett, who outsprinted two Italians: Elia Viviani, the winner of two stages in Israel, and Niccolo Bonifazio.

Astana’s Pello Bilbao tried to do something in the sprint, but found himself boxed in with a few hundred meters to go and, finally, ended this stage on 17th position.

- Inside the last few kilometers I’ve got a position in front, so I decided to try something in case I would find a way to sprint. I had good legs, but in the end it needed to risk too much to move really in front, because as it is usually in a bunch sprint, there was really tricky. Anyway, this was just a flat stage and starting from tomorrow we are coming back to the mountains, - said Pello Bilbao.

The stage did not produce any changes in the general classification: the Briton Simon Yates holds the maglia rosa, while Pello Bilbao is still 7th in the overall, 1 minute 3 seconds behind Yates.

Astana’s leader Miguel Angel Lopez passed this stage without any problems and finished safely inside the main bunch.

- The team was always around me, so we did this stage quite calmly and without stress. Of course, the final was a bit fast and tricky, but we tried to avoid any risk. Now I am looking forward to the next two stages in the mountains. Yesterday I proved I have good legs. So, let’s see if I can improve in the next days, - said Miguel Angel Lopez, currently 22nd in GC, +2.12.

Stage 8 will be held tomorrow: the 209-km long stage from Praia a Mare to Montevergine di Mercogliano will bring the peloton of the Giro d’Italia back into the mountains.

Photo credit: ©Bettiniphoto

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