Giro d’Italia stage seven photo gallery, by Graham Watson>>

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) improved on his second place yesterday by winning today’s rain-soaked stage seven of the 2009 Giro d’Italia.

The Norwegian Ghent-Wevelgem winner gave a textbook display of late acceleration to the line in Chiavenna leaving his four breakaway companions standing in the puddles.

Robbie Hunter (Barloworld) came home in second place, with Russian Pavel Brutt (Katusha) third.

On the run-in to the finish, Boasson Hagen had broken free from the bunch with Davide Vigano (Fuji-Servetto), Hunter and Brutt to join earlier escapee Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni).

The quintet were left unchallenged by a cautious peloton – particularly as several of the sprinters’ team were represented in the break. No one fancied doing the chasing on the steep descent to the finish.

Britain’s Ben Swift (Katusha) gained another top ten finish after coming third on stage two. He finished tenth, one ahead of Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad).

Cavendish’s hopes of a mass sprint finish today were dashed by the weather and by the fact that his team had Boasson Hagen up the road. The Manxman will be looking forward to Sunday’s circuit-based stage in Milan, where he’ll be able to flex his leg muscles in earnest.

With the final 3km of today’s stage neutralised as a result of the awful weather conditions, there was no danger of any change at the top of the overall classification, with Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes) retaining the pink leader’s jersey.

How it happened
The crack of the start gun in Innsbruck had barely stopped ringing around the Austrian hills before four riders formed a break.

Mauro Facci (Quick Step), Bartosz Huzarski (ISD), Sergey Klimov (Katusha) and Vladimir Isaichev (Xacobeo Galicia) went away after only two minutes of racing, and quickly built up a sizable length of tarmac between themselves and the bunch.

The quartet’s advantage peaked at over nine minutes before the peloton decided to start reeling them in a little. This was chiselled down gradually, until first Huzarski, Klimov and Isaichev and then Facci were caught by the summit of Passo Maloja.

The bunch then started the long, slippery descent into Chiavenna when Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni) launched a daring solo attack. The veteran Italian rider was allowed to build up a lead of over a minute as the peloton navigated the winding wet roads behind him.

Pretty soon Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad), Davide Vigano (Fuji-Servetto), Robert Hunter (Barloworld) and Pavel Brutt (Katusha) bridged the gap to Bertolini.

With several sprinters already represented in the break, the number of teams willing to chase was diminished.

Bertonlini kicked out of the group, but was soon caught. Boasson Hagen slipped past his rivals, and no one could hold his wheel. The stage was his.

Faded protest
Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and their Astana team-mates turned up to the stage start in artificially faded team kit. In a protest at the lack of money coming into the team from sponsors, all of the logos were faded to virtual obscurity.

The protest caused a stir before the stage started, but for most of the day the team were shrouded in rain capes and put in a collectively subdued performance.

Tomorrow’s stage is another long and lumpy day for the riders. The 209km route from Morbegno to Bergamo features the long climb to Culmine di San Pietro at the 65km mark before descending to the stage finish via another nasty little climb up and then down the Colle del Gallo.

Stage seven: Innsbruck (Aut) – Chiavenna, 244km
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) Columbia-Highroad

2. Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld
3. Pavel Brutt (Russia) Katusha
4. Davide Vigano (Italy) Fuji-Servetto
5. Alessandro Bertolini (Italy) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni at same time
6. Andriy Grivko (Ukraine) ISD at 31sec
7. Matthew Goss (Australia) Saxo Bank at 40sec
8. Allan Davis (Australia) Quick Step
9. Robert Forster (Germany) Milram
10. Ben Swift (GB) Katusha at same time
11. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia-Highroad at 40sec
59. Ian Stannard (GB) ISD
96. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo
100. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Cervelo
106. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream
120. Chris Froome (GB) Barloworld
148. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Slipstream
176. Charly Wegelius (GB) Silence-Lotto

Overall classification after stage seven
1. Danilo Di Luca (Italy) LPR Brakes in 28-08-48

2. Thomas Lovkvist (Sweden) Columbia-Highroad at 5sec
3. Michael Rogers (Australia) Columbia-Highroad at 36sec
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana at 43sec
5. Denis Menchov (Russia) Rabobank at 50sec
6. Ivan Basso (Italy) Liquigas at 1-06
7. Carlos Sastre (Spain) Cervelo at 1-16
8. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana at 1-17
9. Franco Pellizotti (Italy) Liquigas at 1-27
10. David Arroyo (Spain) Caisse d’Epargne at 1-41
25. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana at 4-31
27. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 4-37
35. Chris Froome (GB) Barloworld at 5-42
55. Charly Wegelius (GB) Silence-Lotto at 14-15
119. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 41-56
120. Ben Swift (GB) Katusha at 42-43
145. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Cervelo at 53-23
146. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia-Highroad at 53-36
154. Ian Stannard (GB) ISD at 56-17
180. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo at 1-03-21

Giro d'Italia 2009Astana – or is it? – at the stage start. Tellingly, only Trek’s name remains legible on the ‘faded’ kit

Giro d'Italia 2009Edvald Boasson Hagen wins stage seven

Find the pink jersey competition

Find the jerseys throughout the Giro and you would win a £400 Parker International voucher.

Giro d'Italia 200918 pink jerseys will be hidden around the Cycling Weekly and Parker International websites over the course of the three week race – all you have to do is decipher the clues at the end of the stage reports to find them.

Friday, May 15. Clue number six:
Bike security has evolved to this mini product – even Superman would struggle to break it
Today’s jersey is on

Full details of CW’s find the pink jersey competition>>

Giro d’Italia 2009 links

Stage reports
Stage six: Scarponi wins longest stage with big break
Stage five: Menchov wins mountain battle as Di Luca grabs the pink jersey
Stage four: Di Luca denies Soler on the line; Lovkvist takes pink jersey
Stage three: Cavendish loses pink jersey after being caught behind late crash
Stage two: Petacchi denies Cavendish the stage win
Stage one: Cavendish in pink as Columbia prove their point to Garmin

Photo galleries
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
Desktop wallpaper photos

Astana riders wear faded kit in protest over unpaid wages
Armstrong sees Leipheimer in pink
Giro news round-up: 14 May
Wiggins: ‘I can’t keep smashing away on the climbs’
Wiggins eyes top 20 finish overall
Armstrong after Giro stage 5: ‘That was hard’
Cavendish looking for Giro revenge
Armstrong happy with stage four performance
Lovkvist will fight to keep Giro lead
Giro could be last race for Armstrong’s team
Vande Velde crashes out of Giro
Petacchi claims he didn’t know of Cavendish crash
Cavendish struggles to find consolation in pink jersey
Petacchi: I’ve been working out how to beat Cav
I’m wearing pink on behalf of the team, says Cavendish
Wiggins ready to win Giro team time trial
Friday, May 8: Giro news round-up
Cavendish out to topple Garmin in Giro team time trial
Team time trial start times
Cycling Weekly’s Giro d’Italia top ten prediction
Brits in Venice for Giro presentation
Armstrong overshadows overall favourites at Giro presentation
Armstrong confident of finding new sponsor for Astana
Armstrong working to save Astana team
Wiggins in top form for Giro
Garmin Slipstream kitted out for Giro opener
Dan Lloyd gets late Giro call-up
Armstrong’s special Giro bikes unveiled
Daniel Lloyd overlooked for Giro ride
Cummings and Thomas not selected for Giro d’Italia
Cavendish tests Giro form at Tour of Romandie
David Millar confirms he’s riding in 2009 Giro
Bennati to take on Cavendish in Giro 2009 sprints
2009 Giro d’Italia to start in Venice
Evans and Silence-Lotto disagree on Giro 2009 ride
Armstrong to ride 2009 Giro
Tuttosport reveals 2009 Giro d’Italia route
Dolce & Gabbana design new Giro jersey

2009 Giro d’Italia guide and features
Find the pink jersey competition
Giro d’Italia 2009: The Big Preview
British riders to have led the grand tours
CW’s Giro top ten prediction
Brits in the Giro 2009
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
CW Classic: the 1987 Giro d’Italia

2008 Giro d’Italia archive
Giro d’Italia 2008 coverage index – race reports, photos, results
From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Giro 2008: The final word on this year’s race
Brits at the 2008 Giro: photo special
Five days to go, what’s in store?
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview

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