Lotto-Belisol takes victory in Pescara, GC favourites both come down in the rain

Adam Hansen of Lotto-Belisol proved the strongest rider in a six-man break at the Giro d'Italia today, riding solo for more than 20 kilometres to take a fine solo victory on Stage 6 in Pescara following a rain-soaked finish to the stage that saw the two big favourites for the overall, Astana's Vincenzo Nibali and Team Sky's Sir Bradley Wiggins, both come down - the Briton losing nearly a minute and a half to his rival, and now needing a big performance in the individual time trial tomorrow to attempt to redress the balance.

Movistar's Benat Intxausti takes over the maglia rosa, with Katusha's Luca Paolini dropped from the main group towards the end. Nibali. meanwhile, moves second overall, 5 seconds behind the Spaniard with Ryder Hesjedal a further 3 seconds back. Wiggins, however, slides out of the top ten.

Intermittent rain throughout the day had turned into an incessant downpour by the end of the stage with Nibali, who'd suffered another fall shortly beforehand, skidding on a bend on an ascent with around 10 kilometres left, sliding around 50 metres into the verge.

The Sicilian quickly remounted, but he's bound to be suffering the after effects of that chute in what could be a crucial individual time trial tomorrow where he will be looking to limit losses to rival Sir Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky, although the time the latter lost today will go a long way towards negating some of the boost he was hoping to gain in that stage against the clock.

Wiggins' crash came a few minutes after Nibali's, on atight right-hand bend on the descent from the final climb to San Silvestro, crested 7.5 kilometres out. It was perhaps a more innocuous looking fall than Nibali's, but one that could have much more serious consequences in terms of the overall.

Wiggins had looked uncomfortable enough with the conditions before he fell, and afterwards took it very gingerly on the rest of the descent ahead of a 5km flat run-in to the finish in Pescara.

Team Sky colleagues Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao both dropped back to help their team leader - thereby sacrificing their own places on GC and suggesting that talk of a Colombian conspiracy within the British outfit is exaggerated.

Following his fall, the Tour de France champion seemed to be nursing his elbow, but team principal Sir Dave Brailsford has confirmed he suffered no injury.

Today’s 177km stage started on the Adriatic at Marina di San Salvo and finished further up the coast at Pescara, but it took the tough route, heading inland to tackle some tough climbs.

With a parcours reminiscent of one of the hardest days in Tirreno-Adriatico, the stage was expected to be the toughest to date of this year’s Giro.

In terms of elevation, the climb to Guardiagrele, encountered towards the halfway point and with a couple of sections of false flat on the way up, marked the highest point of the stage.

However, it was the shorter, sharper climbs encountered later on combined with the rain that would provide the sternest test.

Those included four categorised climbs within the last 50 kilometres or so that featured sections where the gradient was well into double digits, hitting a maximum of 19 per cent on two of them.

Besides the climbs, road conditions also made the going difficult, with intermittent rain causing problems for some even before those two high profile crashes in the final kilometres.

Among those to come down was Androni Giocattoli’s Emanuele Sella, out on his own with Hansen, the pair having dropped four other members of the day’s break.

The Italian came to grief on a corner around 30 kilometres out, trying and failing to keep upright as his rear wheel slid to the left as he took a right-hand corner.

The sight of a spectator who was rushing to Sella’s aid falling unceremoniously onto his backside underlined just how slippery the conditions were.

Sella’s mishap, which left Hansen out front on his own - the Italiian would briefly rejoin him before being dropped again - was just one of a number of crashes throughout the stage.

Early on, Lampre Merida’s Mattia Cattaneo bwas taken to hospital after a crash, joining Orica-GreenEdge’s Leigh Howard and Klaas Lodewyck of BMC – neither of whom started today after being caught up in that big crash yesterday – in abandoning the Giro.

Team Sky’s Uran, second overall this morning, also came off his bike on a climb a little less than 40 kilometres out as he was looking to shepherd Wiggins up the ascent and was unable to unclip quickly enough when a rider slowed in front of him.

Hansen attacked Sella, who had ridden back up to him after his chute, with 20 kilometres left to ride, by which time the main group was around two and a half minutes behind him.

While that margin would fluctuate between then and the line, his closest pursuer Sella suffered another fall, and the nervousness that was clearly running through the peloton meant the 31-year-old Australian just had to stay upright to ride to what is the biggest win of his career.

Giro d'Italia Stage 7 result  
1  HANSEN Adam              LTB      04:35:49
2  BATTAGLIN Enrico         BAR  All at 01:07
3  DI LUCA Danilo           VIN
5  CARUSO Damiano           CAN
6  EVANS Cadel              BMC
7  PIRAZZI Stefano          BAR
8  JEANNESSON Arnold        FDJ
9  WEENING Pieter           OGE
10 HESJEDAL Ryder           GRS
11 CARUSO Giampaolo         KAT 
12 SERPA Jose               LAM   
13 BETANCUR Carlos          ALM  
14 INTXAUSTI Benat          MOV  
15 VALLS Rafael             VCD  
16 KELDERMAN Wilco          BLA  
17 KRUIJSWIJK Steven        BLA  
18 MAJKA Rafal              TST  
19 GESINK Robert            BLA  
Overall Standings after Stage 7  
1  INTXAUSTI Benat          MOV      28:30:04
2  NIBALI Vincenzo          AST         00:05
3  HESJEDAL Ryder           GRS         00:08
4  CARUSO Giampaolo         KAT         00:10
5  SANTAMBROGIO Mauro       VIN         00:13
6  EVANS Cadel              BMC         00:16
7  GESINK Robert            BLA         00:19
8  SANTAROMITA Ivan         BMC         00:28
9  WEENING Pieter           OGE         00:29
10 KISERLOVSKI Robert       RLT         00:34
23 WIGGINS Bradley          SKY         01:32


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


David Arthur @d... [771 posts] 4 years ago

Cracking stage

Simon_MacMichael [2493 posts] 4 years ago

Been looking forward to that one since the route was announced - lived up to expectations.

Goldfever4 [233 posts] 4 years ago

Great stage for the neutral fan, but Wiggins has had some really shoddy luck this week and really the season so far (e.g. final stage of the Trentino).

BobE [6 posts] 4 years ago

Have to see how tomorrow goes, and the extent of his injury, but maybe the luck not with Wiggins this year!

ped [270 posts] 4 years ago

So Pharmstrong tweeted …

Heard the press room at the #Giro "cheered" when Wiggins crashed on a wet descent today. If true, that is completely f'd.

What's that all about? I though Wiggo was good for/with the press?

Super Domestique [1615 posts] 4 years ago
Simon_MacMichael wrote:

Been looking forward to that one since the route was announced - lived up to expectations.

My son bought me the preview / guide and I, like you, earmarked this stage as an interesting one.

Everyone was thinking of the time trial but this had game changer written all over it. By that I mean that you could be playing tome trial catch up, instead of time trial gain. Something Brad looks like doing now.

Great ride by Hansen though and Nibali bouncing back up impressed.

cat1commuter [1422 posts] 4 years ago
ped wrote:

So Pharmstrong tweeted …

Heard the press room at the #Giro "cheered" when Wiggins crashed on a wet descent today. If true, that is completely f'd.

What's that all about? I though Wiggo was good for/with the press?

It was a few people at the back of the press room. Not the whole press room!

Colin Peyresourde [1812 posts] 4 years ago

Yeah the weather conditions really put the cat amongst the pigeons. Not a complete disaster for Wiggins. It just depends how composed he can remain as if he panics he may struggle. I think the weather and much less predictable terrain of the mid-spring Giro actually makes it very compelling, dare I say it, more so than the Tour.....but this is probably because all the best riders turn up with their A-game at the Tour. Wiggins has some good lieutenants here, but they're not Richie Porte and Froome Dog.

kitkat [444 posts] 4 years ago

Meanwhile Ryder sails a steady course...

drfabulous0 [408 posts] 4 years ago
ped wrote:

What's that all about? I though Wiggo was good for/with the press?

Yes, so Wiggo crashing, doubly good.

Abbie [61 posts] 4 years ago

Edge of seat stuff today. I forgot to change my team from yesterday  2 But Cav still got me 5 points!