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Pello Bilbao takes a great win on stage 7 of Giro d’Italia

Stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia to L’Aquila became a day of glory for Pello Bilbao. The Astana’s rider took a great solo victory, attacking from a breakaway group with around 1.5 km to go.

- I am so happy with my win! Honestly, I can’t believe, that, finally, I took a big victory. It is a special day for me, since I like the Giro d’Italia so much and I really wanted to win a stage here! I want to thank my team for trust in me! Astana Pro Team did this possible! – said Pello Bilbao.

Stage 7 of the Giro (185 km) has started with many attacks and a super high pace of the peloton. After many attempts, finally, a group of riders broke away clear with two representatives of Astana Pro Team: Pello Bilbao and Andrey Zeits. The Kazakh rider did a phenomenal work in the break, leading the group and holding a gap to the main peloton. Finally, this job, done by Andrey Zeits allowed Pello Bilbao to save some energy for the final. Inside the last 10 km the breakaway has exploded with attacks, but only Pello Bilbao was able to launch a decisive one, immediately taking a small gap, the Astana rider did his best to stay clear in front and to win this stage.

- Honestly, I did not expect the day will end this way. It was an improvisation. We had Dario Cataldo, Manuele Boaro and Ion Izagirre, who tried to go in a break in the first kilometers, but the peloton just did not give them much space. Finally, me and Andrey Zeits could join a right group. I want to thank Andrey for an absolutely great job, he did today. Thanks to Andrey, our group managed to hold the gap and to play the stage win. In the end of the day I tried to play my card not only with the power, but also with my head. The final was a hard one and I just was looking for a moment to attack. With 1.5 km to go our sports director Alexandr Shefer told me it is a right moment and I just gave my best in that attack. This success means a lot for me and I want to dedicate it to my team, my family and to Michele Scarponi. It is great to take a stage win at the Giro, but, anyway, our main goal here is still the same – to help Miguel Angel Lopez to win the race. Me as well as all the team are for 100% for him at this Giro d’Italia, - added Pello Bilbao.

One of the heroes of today’s stage Andrey Zeits finished the race with a smile on his face.

- I am so happy for Pello, it is a nice victory for him, but also for the team. We tried for many times to go in a break today and, finally, together with Pello we went in a good group. I knew, that Pello is faster than me and he could have a chance for the final, so I did all I could to support him in this break. I am happy that all work I did today, helped him to win the stage. I had a special motivation in this stage, because today is a birthday of my wife. With my work and the result we’ve got as a team I’d like to congratulate my wife Larisa! – said Andrey Zeits.

- This victory brings a good additional motivation for all team. We are happy with this success, which arrived to us already at the first week. The main part of the race is still ahead and we are ready for the fight. But, today, we will celebrate a bit! I’d like to thank all team for great dedication to our common goal and to thank our sponsors for support and help during the season. A special thank to our main partner Samruk Kazyna, which is always with us, - added Alexandr Shefer, sports director of Astana Pro Team.

Despite a strong chase behind the shoulders of the break, the peloton did not catch the escapers, arriving at the finish 1 minute 7 seconds after Pello Bilbao. Astana’s leader Miguel Angel Lopez finished safety in the main group.

In the general classification the Italian Valerio Conti still leads the race.

Tomorrow will be held the 8th stage of the race: 239 km from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro.

Photo credit: © Getty Images

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