Stage seven broke the record for the fastest Giro d’Italia stage ever.
The average speed for the stage, won by Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), was clocked at 51.234km/h, breaking the previous record by just under 2km/h.
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The old record of 49.439km/h had stood for eight years, having been set by Andrea Guardini on stage 18 from San Vito Cadore to Veledago in 2012, that day being downhill for most of the 149km, with Mark Cavendish also finishing second on the stage.
The Giro d’Italia’s stat man was clearly working overtime, as the race organisers also highlighted in a press release that one more stage victory would take Démare level with the French rider who’s won the most Giro stages in one edition, Bernard Hinault, should he add a fourth to his trio over the opening week.
In fact, with Italy and France equally splitting stage honours on six of the opening seven stages, they accomplish a feat that has never happened before in the Italian Grand Tour.
As the flag dropped on stage seven, Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma detected crosswinds and forced the pace, dropping a number of GC rivals, who took nearly 40km to get back on and only then did the pace start to ease.
“What a fast stage. There were many echelons created by the wind but luckily I have a strong and experienced team for these situations,” race leader João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) said after the finish.
“The final part of the stage was even faster, I tried to ride in front to avoid taking risks. It paid off.”
Potential attackers were kept to heel as the peloton rumbled into the finish, with Démare once again easing past his rivals to claim his second stage win in as many days. Should the Frenchman manage to get over the category two climb in the middle of stage eight, he could be on for the hat-trick.
Last year, on stage 17 at the Vuelta a España, a new Ruban Jaune record was set by stage winner Philippe Gilbert for the fastest average speed in a professional bike race over 200km.
The average speed was 50.63km/h, such a pace that TV coverage had to be brought forward by half an hour to make sure viewers could actually see some of the action before its end.