Giro d'Italia 2017: Caleb Ewan sprints to stage seven victory - Road Cycling UK

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Giro d’Italia 2017: Caleb Ewan sprints to stage seven victory

Twisting, technical final circuit provides explosive finish to transitional stage

Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) sprinted to his first Giro d’Italia stage victory, winning stage seven ahead of Fernando Gaviria (QuickStep Floors) and Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe).

Ewan timed his kick on the technical finale to perfection, blasting around the final corner with a length’s lead, and he had plenty in the tank to hold off Bennett and Gaviria behind him.

Team Sky had set a furious pace on the run-in, after a long, slow transitional stage, but the GC remains unchanged with Bob Jungels (QuickStep Floors) still in the maglia rosa, six seconds clear of Geraint Thomas.

Caleb Ewan won stage seven of the 2017 Giro d’Italia in a thrilling sprint finish (pic – Sirotti)

On a stage which fully epitomised a ‘transition day’, three riders – Giuseppe Fonzi (Wilier-Triestina), Simone Ponzi (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and Dmitry Kozonchuk (Gazprom) – formed the day’s break almost from the flag.

They were allowed to build up a healthy lead, but any thoughts of going all the way were dealt a huge blow when Ponzi punctured early on and returned to the bunch.

Fonzi and Kozonchuk pushed on, giving their sponsors plenty of airtime in the 224km stage, but the QuickStep Floors-controlled peloton always had the measure of them.

The only question, really, was at what point the catch would be made and how controlled the big sprint teams would be able to make the final run-in.

The answer, to the first part at least, was at 18.5km to go, with QuickStep Floors, Lotto-Soudal and Orica-Scott all near the front on one side of the road and the GC contenders seeking safety on the other.

A poorly-positioned race marshal nearly scuppered all ideas of safety with 12km to go, however, stood in the middle of the road around a tight, blind, right-hand bend.

Amazingly nobody came to grief – marshal included – and the increased pace being set by the sprint teams only temporarily abated.

The pace remained high, though Kristijan Koren (Cannondale-Drapac) tried a solo dig off the front, which Team Sky brought back as Vasil Kiryienka put the power down.

Bob Jungels continues to lead overall (pic – Sirotti)

Sky’s efforts on the technical run-in caused little gaps to appear, though the chief sprinters – Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Gaviria, Ewan et al were all well placed.

Lukas Postlberger (Bora-hansgrohe) led the way under the flamme rouge for Bennett, but Orica-Scott got a rider in between and Ewan opened the sprint up first.

It gave him the choice of road position round the final bend, but Ewan had timed his kick to perfection to hold off Bennett and a resurgent Gaviria – who had appeared to be boxed in just moments earlier – to grab the stage win.

Giro d’Italia 2017: stage seven – result

1) Caleb Ewan (AUS) – Orica-Scott – 5.35.18hrs
2) Fernando Gaviria (COL) – QuickStep Floors – ST
3) Sam Bennett (IRL) – Bora-hansgrohe
4) Andre Greipel (GER) – Lotto-Soudal
5) Jasper Stuyven (BEL) – Trek-Segafredo
6) Ryan Gibbons (RSA) – Dimension Data
7) Enrico Battaglin (ITA) – LottoNL-Jumbo +2”
8) Rudiger Selig (GER) – Bora-hansgrohe
9) Alexey Tsatevich (RUS) – Gazprom-RusVelo
10) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida

General classification

1) Bob Jungels (LUX) – QuickStep Floors – 33.56.07hrs
2) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky +6”
3) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott +10”
4) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida – ST
5) Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale
6) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Team Sunweb
7) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar
8) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek-Segafredo
9) Andrey Amador (CRC) – Movistar
10) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing

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