Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) just missed out on his first Grand Tour stage victory today in Alborello, as just a few centimetres separated the top three on the seventh stage of the Giro d’Italia, with Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) taking victory ahead of Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors) and Bennett.
It was the second third-placed finish for the Irish sprinter in the race so far, despite suffering from illness in the opening week of the race, and it augurs well for the remaining two weeks that he can nab a stage win.
The peloton rolled out from Castrovillari this morning facing a mostly flat 224 kilometres with an undulating final forty kilometres and a tricky finish.
The early breakaway of Giuseppe Fonzi (Wilier Trestina) and Dimitri Kozonchuk (Gazprom-Rusvelo) never gained more than five minutes and they were reeled in as the sprinters’ teams came to the fore. As they raced towards the finish, Bennett was well protected by his team-mates Lukas Pöstlberger and Rudi Selig.
Bennett came off the wheel of Selig as they sprinted towards the line, but was passed by Ewan with Gaviria challenging on the left-hand side. The three crossed the line with mere centimetres separating them, with a review of the photo finish required to declare Ewan the winner.
Sam Bennett – “It was a hectic and really a tricky final. I really don’t know what happened but the boys did really a great job and I want to thank them. We are a pretty young group here but we work so good together and today it was really close to the win.”
Jens Zemke – Directeur Sportif – “After this leadout the boys would have deserve this victory, they did a great job today. The giro is running pretty well, with 5 podium results in 7 stages we are showing that the team has a strength and depth. Sam was only bet by some centimeters.”
Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) kept the pink jersey and leads Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) by 6″ with Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) in third at ten seconds.
The race continues tomorrow with a 189-kilometre stage from Molfetta to Peschici with a number of climbs en route.