Giro d’Italia #7: Gibbons 14th as O’Connor gains a GC placing

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Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) out-sprinted Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) to the finish line on stage seven of the Giro d’Italia. Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) took third spot.

Stage seven of the Giro d’Italia was a flat, fast stage, following on from the intensity of yesterday’s climb up Mount Etna. After leaving Sciliy behind, today’s stage was the first on the Italian “main land”, with the peloton taking on 159km from Pizzo to Praia a Mare.

As soon as racing started, a break of three riders, darted ahead and formed the break for the day. The break consisted of Davide Ballerini (Androni Giocattoli), Markel Irizar (Trek – Segafredo) and Maxim Belkov (Katusha). The nature of the course meant the sprinters were not going to miss out on an opportunity today, and ensured the break was brought back with 16km to go.

There were a few hopeful attacks as the group moved towards the finish line but again, the sprint teams neutralised all the moves. The final run-in offered a technical approach but Ryan Gibbons was right there in the mix for our African Team. As the line came into sight though, our South African sprinter found himself too far back to contest for the win. Bennett took the victory and Gibbons came home in 14th.

Simon Yates retained the Maglia Rosa while our Ben O’Connor benefited from a late split in the peloton, moving up one spot on GC to 12th while still holding 2nd place in the young riders classification.