Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) took his second stage win in the 2014 Giro d’Italia with a breathtaking sprint victory into Foligno on stage seven.
The Frenchman was perched on the wheel of Giant-Shimano’s stand-in sprinter Luka Mezgec coming into the final bend – just as he was when he took his first stage win three days ago – and squeezed through the tightest of gaps by the boards on the right side of the road.
The win was less clear cut than on stage four, however, as only half a wheel length separated Bouhanni from Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing), who held off Mezgec for second.
Ben Swift (Team Sky), poorly positioned inside the closing kilometres, couldn’t manage to muscle into the top ten.
Yesterday’s stage winner Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) did the pink jersey proud and finished fourth in the sprint, earning the right to keep the maglia rosa on his shoulders for at least another day.
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), who yesterday avoided a maelstrom of crashes that saw the hopes of a number of his rivals disappear, remains best placed of the GC contenders heading into the second week of racing and tomorrow’s first real test: the summit finish to Montecopiolo.
Nevertheless it wasn’t all plain sailing for the sprinters. At one point in the afternoon the five man break of Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp), Bjorn Thurau (Europcar), Robinson Chalapud (Colombia), Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) and Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF) looked like they might just hold off the peloton on the tricky, technical run in.
Giro d’Italia 2014, stage seven: Frosinone to Foligno, 214km
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr in 5-16-05
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Shimano
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
5. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
7. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
8. Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
9. Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale all at s.t.
Overall classification after stage seven
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge in 29-34-19
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 21secs
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma-Quickstep at 1-18
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1-25
5. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing at s.t.
6. Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli Yellow Fluo at s.t.
7. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-47
8. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1-51
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 1-52
10. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale at 2-06