Yesterday’s stage proved to be a tough day to anticipate, the composition of the race winning breakaway failing to meet our expectations, but the move did in fact decide the win amongst themselves as predicted. Stage 7 is a typical intermediate stage of a grand tour race as it traces its way to the first serious mountain challenge of 2017’s edition. Starting in Castrovillari, the route takes the riders on a simple 224km journey to Alberobello, tackling a single Category 4 ascent Bosco delle Pianelle. Much of the racing will be a upon a flat stretch of road, lasting approximately 100km, before tackling the sole rise which separates them from the finish. It is difficult to be certain that the sprinters will find enough support to bring the race back in the final kilometres on Stage 7, but with so few opportunities for the quick men to take further victories at this year’s Giro d’Italia, there is a strong sense that we will be afforded another bunch kick.
Caleb Ewan just cannot seem to execute his normally ruthless sprint right now, his positioning seeming to be what is leaving him unstuck most right now, a frustrating factor given he is the fastest man here in the eyes of many. The slightly undulating terrain in the final kilometres should be suiting to the young Australian, no doubt hoping that all the pieces of his leadout train finally click into place and deliver him his first victory at the race.
André Greipel will not be a great fan of today’s finale, the technical nature of the run into Alberobello bound to be seen as an undesirable prospect for the power based sprinter. His supporting riders for the sprints are not of his usual standard, while Greipel has rarely performed strongly when having to fight aggressively for positioning through complicated finales such as these. However, if he is able to find his way to the fore, then he will be one of the strongest sprinters on this slight rise to the line.
Fernando Gaviria has managed to ride himself into good form as hoped, now staking his climb to the points jersey as a serious contender by the time the race reaches Milano. Of the three leading sprinters at this edition of the Giro d’Italia, Gaviria is certainly the one most suited to the nature of today’s course and finish. His teammates looked to have finally ironed out the problems within his leadout, one which will now be the most skilled for the tricky closing kilometres today, aiming to deliver their Colombian captain into a perfect position once again.
Phil Bauhaus could be the one who benefits most from a hectic finale on Stage 7, the German rider is extremely fast and would be considered a much greater contender had he been gifted riders to support him specifically in the sprints. Regardless, surfing the wheels might prove enough to bag Bauhaus an unexpected victory.
The likes of Sam Bennett, Sacha Modolo, Ryan Gibbons and Jakub Mareczko could all feature.
1st Fernando Gaviria 2nd Caleb Ewan 3rd Phil Bauhaus