Evans Wins Stage 7 of Giro; Vinokourov Takes Maglia Rosa
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) has won Stage 7 of the Giro d'Italia.
Cadel Evans (BMC) has won Stage 7 of the Giro. The world road race champion took a four-up sprint to win the rugged, 220-km ride from Carrara to Montalcino in 5:13:37. Damiano Cunego (Lampre) outsprinted Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) for second. Vinokourov is the new maglia rosa.
The course was shortened by two km because of a landslide. The early pace was fast, with the riders covering 52 km in the first hour. A number of abortive sallies took place, including a large break that contained Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas), who was third overall. The peloton shut that one down in a hurry.
Eventually, Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank) and Rick Flens (Rabobank) escaped. By 128 km, the duo had run up a nine-minute lead. Katusha began to drive the peloton, and the gap began to fall. With 71 km left, the break led the bunch by six minutes.
On the Category 3 Passo del Rospatolo (184.6 km), Dario Cioni (Sky) attacked. Acqua e Sapone led the chase to reel him in. With 32 km left, Michele Scarponi (Androni), Nibali, Agnoli, and Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) crashed on the descent. All lost time, and Nibali would lose the maglia rosa. Sastre would lose five and a half minutes to the crash and hunger knock.
Vinokourov, Stefano Garzelli (Acqua e Sapone), and Linus Gerdemann and Thomas Rohregger (both from Milram) attacked. David Millar (Garmin), Filippo Pozzato and Vladimir Karpets (both from Katusha), Marco Pinotti (Columbia), Cunego, and Jan Bakelandts (Omega Pharma) joined them.
Cunego attacked, and Gerdemann joined him. Both were brought back. On the Category 2 Poggio Civitella (217.6 km), the day's final climb, Vinokourov attacked, and Evans joined him. Cunego and Garzelli led the chase, with Marco Pinotti (Columbia) and John Gadret (Ag2r) coming from behind to join them. The quartet trailed the leading pair by 0:12 with six km left.
Cunego bridged up to the leaders, and David Arroyo Duran (Caisse d' Epargne) joined the chase group. On a hairpin turn, Cunego charged into the lead, but Evans had his measure. The Australian powered away from Cunego in the last km to win.
In the overall, Vinokourov leads Evans by 1:12 and Millar by 1:29. Stage 8 might change the standings again. The 189-km ride from Chianciano to Monte Terminillo will have many climbs, but the most important one will be the 15-km ascent to the finish. The mountaintop finish will be the first one of this year's Giro, and it could be decisive. Who will win? Vinokourov? Evans? Ivan Basso (Liquigas)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!