By Tim Bonville-Ginn published
The peloton was battered by crosswind throughout the day but it all came back together in the finally 50 kilometres and it was the sprinters that had their fun.
João Almeida (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) kept the pink jersey in what ended up being an almost arm chair ride thanks to his team controlling the day and instigating the echelons early on.
How it happened
The riders had the first flat day of the Giro d’Italia to deal with on stage seven with the sprinters expected to have their fun. But the wind on the 143km route between Matera and Brindisi was a solid crosswind.
A four-man break of Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Josef Černy (CCC Team), Marco Frapporti (Vini Zabù-Brado-KTM) and Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) went away early only able to establish a slender lead of around a minute.
Back in the peloton it was Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma who upped the pace as they hit the first crosswind with 125km to go.
The pink jersey, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and his GC rivals of Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) all made the split along with all the main sprinters, catching the break with 119km to go.
The second group had Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) within it but they managed to get back with 96km to go.
In the third group, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto-Soudal), and Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling) losing almost a minute to the leaders but they made it back in with 82km to go.
Pellaud and Frapporti both attacked as soon as the chase group got back to the peloton and the pace settled down with 77km to go.
A crash caught out Vanhoucke and Fuglsang yet again but both were okay and got back into the peloton.
Pellaud took the intermediate sprint ahead of Frapporti with Elia Viviani (Cofidis) pipping Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the peloton behind.
The break were, yet again, brought back with 60km to go as the peloton got ready for the second intermediate sprint that had time bonuses available.
A huge crash took out half of the peloton with 45km to go with Vanhoucke being caught out for a third time along with Pozzovivo, otherwise no major contenders were involved. Everyone came back together again with 21km to go.
The main road into Brindisi had more of a head crosswind which meant that echelons weren’t an issue for the last 10km with all the teams in colour order, protecting the sprinters and GC riders.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Jumbo-Visma and Groupama-FDJ were the teams that lead into the finish town before the lead-out trains took control.
It was Groupama-FDJ who put their man in the best place as Démare sprinted to the win with Sagan just sat on his wheel, unable to get by the French champion.
Démare extends his lead in the points jersey as Almeida keeps pink by 48 seconds over Wilco Kelderman.
The 2020 Giro d'Italia continues with stage eight on Saturday, a 200km route from Giovinazza to Vieste. The stage is a lumpy day but it could easily be another bunch sprint and another win for Démare.
Giro d'Italia 2020, stage seven: Matera to Brindisi (143km)
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, in 2-47-28
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
4. Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
5. Álvaro Hodeg (Col) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
6. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
7. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
8. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren
9. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
10. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis, all at same time
General classification after stage seven
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, in 24-48-29
2. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain-McLaren, at 43s
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 48
4. Harm Vanhoecke (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 59s
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 1-01
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling, at 1-05
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, at 1-19
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-21
9. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-26
10. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-32
Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!
I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.
It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.
After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.
When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.
My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.
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