De Clercq Wins Stage 7 of Giro
Bart De Clercq (Omega Pharma) has won Stage 7 of the 2011 Giro.
Bart De Clercq (Omega Pharma) has won Stage 7 of the 2011 Giro. The Belgian surged away from the peloton on the day's last climb and held on to win the mountainous, 110-km ride from Maddaloni to Montevergine di Mercogliano in 2:54:47. Michele Scarponi (Lampre) outsprinted Roman Kreuziger (Astana) for second at 0:02. Pieter Weening (Rabobank) remains the maglia rosa.
The hostilities began early. After a number of attempted escapes, Italian champion Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini), Lars Bak (HTC), Jerome Pineau (Quick Step), Federico Canuti (Colnago), and Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r) sallied off of the front at 11 km. The peloton kept the escapees on a short leash, and their lead maxed out at five minutes.
With 53 km left, the escapees' advantage had been pared to 2:30. Acqua e Sapone led the field, but a number of attacks took place. Eventually, Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) escaped and attempted to bridge up to the break. The Vacansoleil man reached the leaders with 25 km left.
Hoogerland attempted to drop his companions, but they reeled him in. He led the leaders onto the Category 2 finishing climb, but the peloton closed to within a minute of the escape. Riders dropped out of the break, and members of the peloton attempted to bridge up to it. De Clercq got clear and caught and dropped Bak.
In the last few km. Lampre and Acqua e Sapone chased. They nearly caught the Belgian, who threw in one last surge to stay clear of the peloton.
In the overall, Weening leads Konstantin Sivtsov and Marco Pinotti (both from HTC) by 0:02. Stage 3 will not change this state of affairs. The flat, 217-km run from Sapri to Tropea is tailor-made for a sprint finish. Who will take it? Matt Cavendish (HTC)? Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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