Hat Trick for Frenchman Arnaud Demare as he sprints for his 3rd Stage Victory

Arnaud Demare comfortably took the finishing sprint in Brindisi on Friday for his second straight stage victory and third on this year's Giro d'Italia

Hat Trick for Frenchman Arnaud Demare as he sprint for his 3rd Stage Victory

Frenchman Demare, who rides for Groupama-FDJ, ended the 143km seventh stage from Matera to Brindisi by surging clear of Slovakian Peter Sagan and Australian Michael Matthews to retain the points jersey.

Portuguese rider Joao Almeida of Deceuninck retained the overall lead.

The 29-year-old Demare won narrowly on Tuesday in Villafranca Tirrena, then much more comfortably on Thursday in an uphill finishing sprint in Matera.

This time, as the stage ended with a straight run of more than 1km, Demare's team-mates led him out in a well-organised 'train' and he overpowered his rivals in the final metres.

The run from Matera was flat and, at 143 kilometres, relatively short and included a stretch of the ancient Roman Appian Way.

The pack was broken up early by crosswinds, but reformed and was then slowed by crashes, one involving Dane Jakob Fuglsang, the Astana team leader.

Saturday's eighth stage is a largely flat 200km run up the Adriatic coast from Giovinazzo to Vieste.

VIDEO: 2020 Giro d'Italia Stage 7 Highlights

2020 Giro d'Italia Stage 7 Top 10

1 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 2:47:28
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
4 Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
5 Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck-Quickstep
6 Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
7 Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep
8 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain McLaren
9 Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'

2020 Giro d'Italia GC after Stage 7

1 Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 24:48:29
2 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 0:00:43
3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:48
4 Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:59
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:01
6 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:01:05
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:01:19
8 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:01:21
9 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:26
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:32