A very fast day in the peloton
The peloton completed over 50km in the first hour of racing, and by the time Pello Bilbao (Astana) crossed the finish line they had slowed down to just an average pace of 45km/h, on a day that wasn’t completely flat as well.
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This was most likely down to Jumbo-Visma giving up on the pink jersey (for now) and UAE Team Emirates’ Valerio Conti not being a viable, long-term GC contender.
This meant lots of teams were fighting to get into the breakaway today, hoping to snatch the pink jersey in the same fashion that Conti did on stage six.
Pello Bilbao times it perfectly
After the peloton refused to let a break go for over an hour a group of 12 got away, eventually being whittled down to six riders who managed to hold off the bunch and fight it out amongst themselves for the stage win.
Despite José Joaquín Rojas’ (Movistar) valiant attempt to catch back up to the leading group and go past as he hunted down the victory, Pello Bilbao timed it perfectly, just 500m after Rojas was caught and with 1.5km remaining, to launch his own attack, leaving the five riders to look at each other.
When Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) eventually got the chase organised, Bilbao had already stolen a march on the group, and sailed across the line to pick up his first ever Grand Tour stage victory, the biggest win of his career so far.
Gaviria and De Plus two big abandons
Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) abandoned with 120km remaining after struggling with knee problems and was joined by Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma) as the day’s high-profile abandons.
Gaviria will be disappointed that his race has ended early, having only won one stage by the jury’s decision, with Laurens De Plus’ abandon much more cause for concern for Jumbo-Visma. Set to be one of Primož Roglič’s key lieutenants as he mounts his GC challenge, it will be a big blow to the Slovenian’s overall classification hopes at this year’s Giro d’Italia.
Conti can thank Trek-Segafredo for pink jersey
With Fernando Gaviria’s abandonment early in the race, UAE Team Emirates were down to just six riders, after Juan Sebastian Molano was pulled due to “unusual physiological results”
This meant a lot of hard work for UAE Team Emirates if they wanted to keep the pink jersey on Valerio Conti’s shoulders, and if it wasn’t for Trek-Segafredo they might have lost it to someone else, who for reasons that are not currently known chased hard after Conti’s team had run out of men.
José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar) was the closest challenger who made the day’s break, only 2-12 down on the overall at the start of the day, with the breakaway gaining an advantage up towards the two-minute mark.
Were Trek-Segafredo trying to sett something up for Bauke Mollema? Or Giulio Ciccone? Answers on a postcard, please.
A few days now for injured riders to recover
After today’s hard and fast stage, there’s a window of opportunity for some of the injured riders who may have suffered over the last few stages.
One of these is Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s James Knox, who is “feeling a bit down but hoping he’ll come around” after multiple crashes in the opening week.
Stage eight provides an uncomplicated sprint, then on Sunday it’s a time trial where riders can ride within themselves if they need to.
Monday is a rest day and then Tuesday and Wednesday offer up two more flat stages. This period could prove crucial for injured riders to get themselves fixed up and ready for the next two weeks of racing.