May 17, 2014

Giro Stage 7 Review - Bouhanni Doubles Up

The Stage: Another transitional stage, this one with two weak climbs and a  long flat run-in to the finish. Everyone knows that spells sprint, especially in a Grand Tour and even moreso with all the injured riders after the crash from the day before meaning nobody with any real strength was going to be in the daily breakaway.

Who won today's stage? Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) took his second stage of the race, showing he is the fastest sprinter in the race, especially with Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) having abandoned before stage 4.

When was the stage won? Bouhanni had used his entire lead out train before the finale, so he found a new one. Latching onto the back of the Giant-Shimano train, Bouhanni came around Luca Mezgec through a thin space along the barrier to take the stage win.

When was the stage lost? In the final kilometer, Elia Viviani (Cannondale) lost the wheel of one of the riders in front of him. This cause him to drop back to a poor 10th place and Ben Swift (team Sky), who was attempting to follow Bouhanni ended up 15th.

What matters in the GC race? Nothing that occurred today matters, though the peloton is still reeling after the stage 6 crash. Additionally, 8th place Fabio Aru (Astana) punctured late, but just inside the 3km mark meaning he was given the same time as the group. Michael Mathews (Orica-GreenEdge) still leads and will wear the pink jersey one more day before likely ceding it on the first bigger mountain pass of the race tomorrow.

What matters in the other competitions?
Points (Red Jersey): Bouhanni's stage win regained him the lead in this race with Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek), Viviani and Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-ISD). Expect this category to remain mostly quiet for the next few days with the road turning uphill and mountainous.
King of the Mountains (Blue Jersey): Somehow, Michael Mathews has claimed this jersey as well with his win yesterday on a category 2 hill. Don't expect this to last too long either. Wearing the jersey tomorrow will be Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin), who has worn the race every time it has been awarded in the race thus far.
White Jersey: Mathews leads here as well, but he is no GC climber meaning he gives this up tomorrow as well.

Biggest surprise: It was so easy to get to the sprint. Unlike the stages at the Tour of California (where only one stage thus far has been decided by a sprint), the presences of Race Radios means the sprinters teams have it easy when reeling the breakaway in.

Biggest disappointment: Viviani and Swift were so badly positioned that they lost a piece of the draft and chase back on themselves.

What's on the docket tomorrow? Mountains. The first real ones of the race with a summit finish on tap to boot.

Stage 7 Pick: Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

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