CyclingRevealed's Giro Perspective
Tappa 7, May 14th, Grosseto to Pistola, 211 km
A Tough Day in Tuscany
The stage 7 from Grosseto to Pistoia proceeded through the beautiful hills of Tuscany. Rolling gently through the Tuscan countryside, the course saved the day’s difficulty for the end. Two categorize climbs in the last 50 kms, the 4 km (Cat. 2) climb to San Baronto and the 4.6 km (Cat 1) climb of the Salita di Sammommé, will challenge the contenders.
Attacks started early after the start in Grosseto, but no group could escape until the 32 km mark of the stage. A twenty-one rider breakaway formed and opened a 10 minute lead with 96 kms to go. Slowly the gap began to come down entering the final 50 kms.
The fireworks started on the difficult climb of the Sammommé. From the breakaway Steve Zampieri (Phonak) made the first move just before the climb. He was quickly joined by Koldo Gil (Liberty Seguros) and Angel Gomez Gomez (Saunier-Duval). The peloton was 2 minute back and beginning to close quickly.
Hard chase before the final climb [ Image by La Gazetta ]
On the steepest section of the climb accelerations by the Maglia Verde Rujano (Selle Italia) and Gliberto Simoni (Lampre) split the chase group. At the summit of the Sammommé Gil was alone with a 17 kms descent into the finish in Pistoia.
Koldo Gil rides solo over the summit of the final climb [ Image by La Gazetta ]
Heavy rain and wind started to play a roll. With 5 km to go the 13 rider Cunego/Di Luca group was 1’05” behind. Stefano Garzelli slide out on the wet roads with 1.4 km to go. The crash only slowed the chase slightly and the gap was still coming down.
Under the 1 km to go banner it was clear that a very strong Koldo Gil would not be caught today. With a big smile and arms wide open he crossed the finish line for his first Giro d’Italia stage win.
Happy stage winner Koldo Gil [ Image by La Gazetta ]
Damiano Cunego finished second 20 seconds behind. Danilo Di Luca took over the race lead after Paolo Bettini struggled over the final climb and finished 1’48” back.
In a moment of confusion the 2nd placed Cunego thinks he had won the stage [ Image by La Gazetta ]
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