After yesterday´s Etna stage, the race left Sicily and travelled on the ferry to the mainland of Italy, to start the 7thstage in Pizzo today. The 160km long stage ended in Praia a Mare and was another stage which favoured the sprinters in the peloton. Today no KOM´s were taken but two intermediate sprints awaited the riders before the fast finale on wide avenues.
The Team Tactics:
After Rudi Selig´s withdrawal from the Corsa Rosa due to illness, teammate Christoph Pfingsten assumed his place as the last lead-out man for Sam Bennett. For today´s sprint stage the team focused again on their Irish sprinter Bennett.
Racing under sunny skies a group of three riders formed the breakaway of the day with a maximum gap of four minutes. The peloton took it easy and waited until the 83km mark to increase the pace, with 13km remaining it was all back together. The race came alive as the peloton headed into the city of Praia a Mare. BORA – hansgrohe started to form for their leader Sam Bennett. The pace was high, but BORA – hansgrohe showed a great effort. On the final metres Sam stayed on the wheels of Quick-Step Floor rider E. Viviani and waited until he made the final move and took his first Grand Tour Victory. It is first Giro d´Italia win after having placed once second and no less than five times third at the Corsa Rosa.
- S. Bennett: 3:45:27
- E. Viviani: +0:00
- N. Bonifazio: +0:00
From the Finish Line:
“It’s a big relief! I was close so many times at the Giro, but today to get the timing right was key. It’s not easy to pass Viviani, but I knew my time would come, even there might be some people who thought it will never come. A big thanks to my team BORA - hansgrohe, all the guys support me really well all the time. Today my plan was to take the wheel from Viviani instead of doing all the lead out for him like the first stages. But I needed patience because I didn’t want to be early again, and then a was closed at some point, but in the end the timing was perfect and everybody could see how fast I am.“ - Sam Bennett
“Today is a really special day for us, Sam came to us as a Continental rider and grew, as the team, over the years. He was quite often so close to a victory but today was his day. He and the team worked pretty well together and did a great job. In the finale everything was perfect and Sam had the right timing and took his first Grand Tour victory.” – Christian Pömer