Garzelli group, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7

There were no poetic pictures of the riders leaving huge plumes of white dust in their wake, images we're so familiar with from the single-day race in Tuscany, the Eroica.

David Millar's face, body and bike are coated in a layer of mud but he has a brief respite on the smooth surface. He rode to 11th place to climb up to third overall.

The pain and unpleasantness of riding on the gravel and getting covered in mud shows on the face of Bradley Wiggins.

Dario Cioni attacks,Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7



Forty kilometres from the finish, Team Sky's Dario Cioni attacked hard. He didn't get much of a lead but his move put the pressure on behind and contributed to the bunch splitting.

Cadel Evans and Alexandre Vinokourov attack, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7

Lampre chase, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7



Wiggins chases hard. There won't be any gravel roads at the Tour de France, but this was a testing day in the saddle that will stand him in good stead.



Milram's Linus Gerdemann was one of the first to attack on the dirt roads.

His pink jersey turning browner with every minute, Vincenzo Nibali and Ivan Basso were isolated and lost two minutes.

Instead the rain turned the roads to filthy brown mud and made the racing even more demanding than it otherwise would have been.

Cadel Evans wins, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7

Alexandre Vinokourov leads Evans. The road surface has turned nasty.

David Millar, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7

Michael Barry chases, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7



Michael Barry of Team Sky drills it on the front before the race entered its muddy hell.



Evans, the world champion, doing the rainbow jersey proud. Vinokourov and David Arroyo hang on.

The effort shows on the faces of Vinokourov and Garzelli.

Before they got to the muddy bits, Rick Flens (Rabobank) and Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank) attacked. They got five minutes ahead but were shut down by the eager peloton.

Cadel Evans eased clear of the rest in the final kilometre to win in impressive fashion. His bold rainbow jersey was still just about visible under the grime.

Bradley Wiggins, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7

Linus Gerdemann attacks, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7

Bradley Wiggins chases, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7

 

Alexandre Vinokourov, Cadel Evans, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7

Sorensen and Flens, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7

Lampre and Katusha did a lot of chasing to bring the break back.

Garzelli group, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7

The main men on the mud. Vinokourov, Evans, Cunego and Garzelli.

Vincenzo Nibali, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7

Stage seven of the Giro d'Italia was always going to be a photographer's dream – but it didn't quite turn out the way everyone had anticipated.

Cadel Evans and Alexandre Vinokourov escape, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7



For a couple of kilometres, Evans and Vinokourov were out in front on their own.

Alexandre Vinokourov and Stefano Garzelli, Giro d'Italia 2010, stage 7