Sam Bennett takes first ever Grand Tour stage win at the Giro d’Italia
After a set back in its GC ambitions , BORA - hansgrohe pulled it back, as Sam Bennett took an impressive sprint victory in Praia a Mare
While again a breakaway was leading the race for most of the day, everybody was expecting a sprint finish at today's stage 7 at the Giro. As expected, it all came down to the final kilometer after the break was caught, and this time BORA - hansgrohe’s sprinter Sam Bennett got his timing right, when coming from E. Viviani’s wheel on the last 50 meters. This victory is Sam’s first ever Grand Tour stage win, while for BORA - hansgrohe it means the fourth consecutive Grand Tour with at least one stage win.
After yesterday´s Etna stage, the race left Sicily and travelled on the ferry to the mainland of Italy, to start the 7thstage in Pizzo today. The 160km long stage ended in Praia a Mare and was another stage which favoured the sprinters in the peloton. Today no KOM´s were taken but two intermediate sprints awaited the riders before the fast finale on wide avenues.
After Rudi Selig´s withdrawal from the Corsa Rosa due to illness, teammate Christoph Pfingsten assumed his place as the last lead-out man for Sam Bennett. For today´s sprint stage the team focused again on their Irish sprinter Bennett.
Racing under sunny skies a group of three riders formed the breakaway of the day with a maximum gap of four minutes. The peloton took it easy and waited until the 83km mark to increase the pace, with 13km remaining it was all back together. The race came alive as the peloton headed into the city of Praia a Mare. BORA – hansgrohe started to form for their leader Sam Bennett. The pace was high, but BORA – hansgrohe showed a great effort. On the final metres Sam stayed on the wheels of Quick-Step Floor rider E. Viviani and waited until he made the final move and took his first Grand Tour Victory. It is first Giro d´Italia win after having placed once second and no less than five times third at the Corsa Rosa.
Sam Bennett said “It’s a big relief! I was close so many times at the Giro, but today to get the timing right was key. It’s not easy to pass Viviani, but I knew my time would come, even there might be some people who thought it will never come. A big thanks to my team BORA - hansgrohe, all the guys support me really well all the time. Today my plan was to take the wheel from Viviani instead of doing all the lead out for him like the first stages. But I needed patience because I didn’t want to be early again, and then a was closed at some point, but in the end the timing was perfect and everybody could see how fast I am.“
VIDEO: 2018 Giro d'Italia Stage 7 Highlights
2018 Giro d'Italia Stage 7 Top 10
1 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe 3:45:27
2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
3 Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
4 Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
5 Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
6 Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
7 Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
9 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC Racing Team
10 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Fix All
2018 Giro d'Italia GC after Stage 7
1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 26:31:30
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:16
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:26
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:43
5 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:45
6 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:53
7 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:03
8 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:10
9 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:01:11
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:12