Gerrans sprints to third after grueling Giro d'Italia stage sevenFri 15 May 2015
2014 Liege – Bastogne – Liege champion Simon Gerrans has sprinted to third place after a grueling 264km, seven hour 22minutes stage into Fiuggi at the Giro d’Italia today.
Gerrans was supported by the full commitment of the entire ORICA-GreenEDGE team on the seventh stage, the Australian sprint train leading the way in the final kilometre.
“I am very proud of how the boys rode today,” sport director Matt White said.
“It was like a Classic today, a Classic after seven days of racing. So what that meant is that we had a mentality of a one-day race and every single rider did exactly what was asked of them and delivered right to the end.”
The result also continues the comeback of Gerrans, who made the most of his first opportunity to race for an individual result today.
“The other pleasing thing is that Simon is on his way back,” White said. “He has had a horrible year with injuries and he has worked very hard to get where he is and that was his first opportunity to get a result for himself.”
“Third place in a Grand Tour is a very good sign for the rest of the Giro and obviously for summer.”
How it unfolded
Headwind made an already strenuous day an epic one.
Riders spent over seven hours on the bike to make the 264km journey from Grosseto to Fiuggi on the seventh straight day of racing.
Marco Bandiera (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec), Nicola Boem (Bardiani – CSF Pro Team), Pier Paolo De Negri (Nippo – Vini Fantini) and Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) braved a long day out in front as the day’s main move.
The quartet rode to a maximum advantage of 11minutes after a little over 100km but were never out of reach of the peloton.
After 200km of racing, their lead was down to six and a half minutes and continued to quickly reduce as the day took its toll on the small group.
With 20km to go, the group was caught by the peloton and the race about to start all over again.
Tinkoff – Saxo, with race leader Alberto Contador in tow, kept the pace high as numbers dwindled from behind before the sprint teams came to the fore to set up for the stage victory.
ORICA-GreenEDGE hit the lead after a mammoth turn by Pieter Weening before Simon Clarke and Michael Matthews positioned Gerrans for the final sprint.
Coming up the right hand side, Diego Ulissi (Lampre – Merida) powered from behind to take the victory ahead of Juan Lobato (Team Movistar).
Stage eight tomorrow concludes with a mountain top finish in Campitello Matese, the Giro d’Italia’s first category one climb for 2015. Riders will also ascend a category two climb on their way from the start in Fiuggi.