10 May 2013

Giro d'Italia stage 7 San Slavo - Pescara

Yesterday's stage did indeed prove to be a sprinters finish, although the first time over the finish line before two circuits did cause a major pile up. Coming just after Bradley Wiggins it could have been a disaster to him and other GC contenders if Kathusha on the front didn't neatralise proceedings while the pile of bikes at the back was sorted out. Team Sky then were at the front of the chasers as they came back taking most of the lap to catch the leaders and then Sky continued up the side of the road to announce they were back by taking the head of the race. Obviously the scare of losing more time as the result of a crash was praying on Bradley Wiggins' mind just a bid as he was leading the race into the final 3km, after which time a dealy would give him the same time as the leaders.

However, when it came to the sprint Argos Shimano hit the front a little too early with only one man in front of John Degenkolb. In his wheel was Gert Steegmans of Omega Pharma-Quickstep who was leading out Mark Cavendish. When the time came the Manxman was unleashed for his 12 Giro stage victory, although behind him Nacer Bouhanni. In his post race interviews and stage presentation Cav remembered Wouter Weylandt, the Belgian rider for Leopard Trek, who died in the road in the Giro 2 years previously. He has started his professional career with Quickstep and it was fitting that another rider of that team was first across the line yesterday to honour his memory.

Today is another 177km of going up and down, this time most of the way in some sort of undulation. So with two category three and two category four climbs toward the end of these stage of rise and fall do not expect to see Cavendish add to his stage wins today.

There are 11km from the last categorised climb to the finish and more rain is possible at the finish today. So there is a chance that on the descent there may well be slick conditions under wheel. But again it will largely be mechanicals, crashes or conditions that separate the main GC contenders from each other today. If someone is going to struggle today to keep up with the main pack they are unlikely to be able to do so day in, day out when the high mountain passes come.

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