Ewan sprints to second Giro stage win as Valter retains Pink Jersey
Australia's Caleb Ewan of the Lotto team sped to a second win at the Giro on Friday, two days after his first success
The 26-year-old, nicknamed the 'Pocket Rocket' has set his sights this season on winning stages on the three big Tours – the Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta.
Adding stage seven to stage five Ewan brings his tally to five stage wins in total in the three-week Giro d'Italia.
Ewan was quickest to react after Colombian Fernando Gaviria anticipated the sprint in the final kilometre with the Australian overtaking the UAE-Emirates rider in the final 200 metres.
He finished ahead of Italian Davide Cimolai and Belgian Tim Merlier in a stage contested in difficult conditions with strong head winds over 181km run mostly along the Adriatic coast from Notaresco.
"I knew it would be a good finish for me," said Ewan.
"Then it was a question of being smart and a lot of teamwork, too. All my guys went from a long way out.
"We had to stay in the front for the last 10km.
"The start of the climbing was the most important part. It was a super-hard finish and I had to go deep to win today. My legs were absolutely burning."
Hungary's Attila Valter of Groupama-FDJ held the leader's pink jersey with an 11-second advantage on Belgian tyro Remco Evenepoel while Colombian Egan Bernal, the 2019 Tour de France winner, is third a further five seconds behind.
"I wasn't nervous," said Valter.
"I felt lucky that I could enjoy my day in the Maglia Rosa. The team always kept me in the front.
"I felt like a different rider with the jersey.
"I felt very respected in the peloton and I want to thank all the riders for their congratulations.
"To pass through the beautiful cities of Italy with people cheering for the Maglia Rosa, I had to pinch myself to realise that it was really me.”
Italian Domenico Pozzovivo withdrew before the start of the stage after hurting his left arm in a fall on Thursday.
The 38-year-old was competing for the 15th time in the Giro and finished 11th overall last year.
Saturday's eighth stage covers 170km from Foggia to Guardia Sanframondi with valleys and climbs which should suit the climbers.
VIDEO: 2021 Giro d'Italia Stage 7 Highlights
2021 Giro d'Italia Stage 7 Top 10
1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 4:42:12
2 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation
3 Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
4 Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
5 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
6 Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
7 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
8 Max Kanter (Ger) Team DSM
9 Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
10 Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates
2021 Giro d'Italia GC after Stage 7
1 Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ 26:59:18
2 Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:0:11
3 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:0:16
4 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech 0:0:24
5 Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:0:25
6 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education-Nippo 0:0:38
7 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 0:0:39
8 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:0:41
9 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation 0:0:47
10 Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange 0:0:49