Into your tech? Here’s an all-new TT bike from De Rosa. It went under the radar at the time, but Elia Viviani rode it on the opening day of this Giro. Here are the details.
It depends on how hard the peloton race up this climb, but it’s looking promising for the breakaway as they take a lead of 7:15 onto the climb.
The nine-man break hits the Bocca della Stelva. A long climb – 18.9km – but with a modest average gradient – 4.6%. There’s a steeper section in the middle but otherwise it’s a pretty steady ascent and shouldn’t cause too much damage.
All calm for now as the gap nudges out towards the seven-minute mark. We have a light descent ahead of the day’s major climb.
Lotto Soudal have confirmed that Ewan was struggling with knee pain.
82km to go
Groupama-FDJ lead the peloton through the intermediate sprint, 6:45 down now.
Here are the new points classification standings, taking into account that sprint and Ewan’s exit
1. Tim Merlier – 83 points
2. Giacomo Nizzolo – 76
3. Elia Viviani – 69
4. Davide Cimolai – 66
5. Peter Sagan – 57
6. Fernando Gaviria – 54
Gougeard decides against trying to spoil the party and Gaviria musters a mini sprint to collect the maximum 12 points.
Gaviria has gone long here and Gougeard is poised in the wheel.
Gaviria pushes through to the front, out of the saddle and on the hoods. Gougeard tracks him.
Gaviria is likely to be interested in this sprint. He’s the only one in there with any real collection of points and of course the points classification leader Ewan has already gone home.
Anyway, in the race we’re approaching that intermediate sprint.
For those who haven’t read the piece, the major news today is that the leader of the Giro d’Italia plays Spiderman online in his spare time. Now I’m not a ‘gamer’, but while I can just about understand someone playing something like Call of Duty, I’m really struggling with the idea of a grown man playing Spiderman. Am I just old?
90km to go
The break’s lead rises above five minutes.
Want to know more about our race leader, Attila Valter? Want to know what video games he plays? Here you go…
Groupama-FDJ allow the gap to drift out to 4:15. There’s no big threat from a GC perspective, Oliveira being the best-placed overall, just over 15 minutes down.
The riders in the peloton are getting musettes from the soigneurs. It was a fast and furious first hour and a half but now they can enjoy some lunch.
100km to go
The gap rises to 2:55.
Here’s our story
There was a crash in the tunnel but not for Ewan, he was dropped or had sat up before then reports RAI. Retired from the raceMay 15, 2021
The road is rising here and will ratchet up all the way to the intermediate sprint at Campobasso with 86km to go. From there, it’s a short descent before the day’s major climb, the second-category Bocca della Selva (18.9km at 4.6%). A long old descent will then take them down into Castelvenere ready for the short final climb.
106km to go
So, we have a breakaway of nine riders, just over a minute behind the peloton, where riders are finally stopping for comfort breaks. At last, the race settles down into a calmer and more familiar pattern.
Here comes the Hour Record holder. Those eight riders were working hard together to get away so that’s a great ride to get across.
Things appear to be easing once more in the peloton. That last counter-attack came to nothing and now Valter’s Groupama-FDJ’s teammates have come to the front to try and impose order.
Campenaerts is so close. He’s seven seconds behind. This is a huge effort.
Here are the eight leaders
Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates)
Nelson Oliveira (Movistar)
Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal)
Alexis Gougeard (AG2R Citroën)
Nikias Arndt (Team DSM)
Victor Lafay (Cofidis)
Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane)
Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa)
I spoke too soon. More attacks from the peloton now. They’re 25 seconds behind the front of the race. Campenaerts still struggling to close the gap alone.
112km to go
That looks to be it. We’ll bring you the names in the break shortly.
This looks like it could be it. The peloton has eased up. Will it last?
Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka Assos) is alone in between.
It’s kicking off again. It looked like that gap might be enough, but there are enough riders not happy to see this go.
A new counter-attacking trio forms behind.
Fernando Gaviria is up there for UAE Team Emirates.
116km to go
The counter-attacks fizzle out and that group eases away. This could be it.
The riders are coming off that slight downhill and the road will tilt up the other way again.
Eight riders succeed in going clear now, but some have missed out and now the responses come.
The bunch strings out in a line. Nothing sticking but danger is everywhere. Nothing has been allowed clear but it’s not like there’s a huge amount of control. GC contenders still alert near the front.
It’s still false flat downhill and it’s hard for anyone to get a gap here.
Meanwhile, the race continues in similar vein. A volley of accelerations but nothing opening daylight.
Ewan was always likely to leave the Giro early, given he’s doing the Tour and Vuelta, but not this early. He was caught out in the early splits but was obviously in decent form given his two stage wins. A crash would explain things.
Not sure what has happened with Ewan – perhaps he was involved in that tunnel crash? – but that’s just been announced on race radio.
Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) has abandoned the race
It’s still downhill, although the gradient isn’t as pronounced as at the start of this descent.
Italian TV are reporting that there was a crash in that tunnel, hence the splits.
Mader and Battistella are caught.
Things haven’t eased up behind and the peloton is strung out again under new accelerations.
Plenty of riders dropped on that uncategorised climb are fighting to make their way through the cars back to the bunch.
130km to go
40km on the clock already and do we finally have a breakaway? Mader and Battistella have opened a handy lead but will they shut up shop behind?
The peloton reforms behind the two leaders as they head downhill.
It’s Samuele Battistella for Astana. They’re being hunted down by a solo chaser, with the bunch – itself split slightly in the tunnel – just behind.
That tunnel was the top of the climb and now it’s a fast downhill on wide roads. Gino Mader is away with a rider from Astana.
Into a tunnel and we emerge into the darkness to find some bigger splits.
It’s very fluid in that group just in front of the bunch and now Patrick Bevin takes it on for Israel.
The riders are still climbing on another raised highway.
Eight more riders are just behind, but the peloton is still right there.
They’re joined by a DSM rider but the gaps are slim.
The Italian is joined by a Movistar rider, possibly Jorgenson.
Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) puts in a bigger acceleration now and gets a gap on his own.
Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation) is up there, trying to get a group clear.
Off the bridge and it’s pretty much all together although a number of riders are trying to push this on.
Onto a massive bridge, where the road is narrowed due to roadworks, and we have a couple of small gaps but nothing definitive.
A wooded section provides some shelter from the wind and fresh breakaway attempts materialise.
We’ve done almost 30km already. We’ve been on an extended false flat but the road is about to tilt uphill more severely. It’s not categorised but it’s still a climb.
Movistar kick off a new attack but it’s soon snuffled out.
The back of the peloton is one single-file line, and that’s a real danger, but it’s easing again up towards the front.
Ganna drags the race back together. Now it’s in one long line.
Ganna is doing a huge turn here, just in front of Keisse.
That front group swells to 20. Ineos are chasing now.
Six riders have managed to join that front trio, but the peloton is right on their heels and more are trying to make the junction.
The trio don’t seem to be gaining ground here. Fresh moves come from behind.
The three riders are Ruben Guerreiro (EF-Nippo), Stefano Oldani (Lotto Soudal), and Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert).
The responses come to nothing but here come more counter-attack efforts
There’s a response behind from multiple riders.
148km to go
Three riders clip off the front now.
Most GC riders are being kept up front out of trouble. No big effort to split the race of break away at this point.
It was cross-headwind to start with but now it’s coming more directly from the right. It’s not super strong but it doesn’t take long for damage to be done.
Iljo Keisse has been designated to guide Evenepoel through this tense portion of the race.
151km to go
Still all together, with Bahrain Victorious at the head of the bunch.
Back out onto the wide highway and things intensify once more.
Riders from Bora and Lotto join in but they’re not getting away as the bunch strings out through the town of Lucera.
Bardiani kick it off again but now it’s an Intermarché representative heading up the road.
The route has turned off the main road and the threat of the wind seems to have ebbed away. It’s a full bunch and now we see new breakaway attempts.
Romain Bardet (Team DSM) had been caught on the wrong side of that split, as had Trek-Segafredo.
159km to go
Back together. The second group, lined out, makes contact with the front peloton, which had eased off slightly.
Intermarché look to drive this on, as Bahrain did just before, but the second peloton is starting to gain ground.
Ewan and Nizzolo are back in the second bunch, but it remains to be seen if any pre-race favourites have been caught out.
Valter caught out
The pink jersey has missed the split and is in the second group on the road
Filippo Ganna is at the head of the first group, Bernal in his wheel.
The peloton has split in two now.
Deceuncink-QuickStep close a gap for Evenepoel, shutting down another really big group that was in danger of going clear.
It’s splitting again into large chunks. There’s a bit of side-wind and all the GC contenders are on alert here, perhaps why Bernal found himself up there.
The presence of the 2019 Tour de France champion and pre-race favourite is the death of that large break. Others in the group remonstrate with the Colombian, asking what he’s doing there. He has killed that group’s chances, as they all ease up with the peloton now on their case.
Bernal’s up there!
A monster group has formed at the head of affairs. But the peloton is aware of the danger and chasing it down.
The dozen or so riders at the head of the bunch have split off into their own group. There’s a bit of wind out there at the moment.
A large group goes clear but the peloton is strung out in chase behind.
Bardiani-CSF and Eolo-Kometa kick off the next wave of breakaway attempts.
The Intermarché rider now sees the response ebb, and decides himself to drift back to the bunch. Things stall now.
The first attack is launched by an Intermarché rider. He looks around and sees multiple reactions behind.
The flag drops and the race opens up
The riders are still massed behind the race director’s car, waiting for the go-ahead.
Valter there. We have a nice interview with him coming up shortly.
Attila à l’heure. ⏰ pic.twitter.com/VxKV4HmoKiMay 15, 2021
They’re off. A short neutral-zone awaits before the flag is waved and the fight for the break begins.
The riders are assembled on the start line. Groupama-FDJ’s Attila Valter wears the famous maglia rosa as the overall leader. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) is in the maglia ciclamino as leader of the points classification after his second stage win yesterday, while Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) is in blue as leader of the mountains classification and Remco Evenepoel (Deceuncnick-QuickStep) is decked in white as the best young rider.
Here’s a closer look at the final climb. It’s short, but nasty. It’s not something that’ll create significant gaps between the overall contenders but they’ll all have to be on high-alert. Positioning will be important on the run-in.
As for what sort of group contests the finish, it could be another breakaway day at this Giro. It’s hard to know who’ll want to control the race all day, so we could see another escape stick.
🙋♂️🙋🙋♂️🙋#Giro pic.twitter.com/4pFJtWc5DCMay 15, 2021
Before we get going, now’s the time for a re-cap. Full results and standings can be found in our stage 7 report from yesterday.
The roll-out is coming up at 12:40 local time (in around 20 minutes), and the start proper is set to be given 10 minutes after that.
This is the scene at the start in Foggia, where the riders signing on for the stage.
Good morning and welcome along as we head deeper into the first week of this Giro d’Italia. Today we have a hilly stage but one that should come down to the short, steep final climb in Guardia Sanframondi.