Once again CCC Sprandi Polkowie rider managed to get in the breakaway of the day, on the stage of Giro d’Italia. This time it was Nikolay Mihaylov. He covered over 220 km ahead of the bunch. Grega Bole also put out great performance by finishing in the Top 10, after hard bunch sprint.
The plan for our team was to make the breakaway and today I was the one who managed to pull away. It was a very long day for me. The beginning was extremely windy and it cost us a lot of energy. We gave everything we had, but there were too many teams that wanted to bring the race to a bunch sprint – Nikolay Mihaylov said afterwards. – We’ve done seven days of racing, but I feel that my shape is improving. I hope my form will peak in the third week, so I can help the team in delivering stage success.
One of the first riders to launch an attack on stage 7 was Jarosław Marycz. His 3-man group was reeled in though, after gaining 30 second lead. Later it was time for Nikolay Mihaylov to break clear. He formed an escape of the day together with Marco Bandiera (Androni Sidermec), Nicola Boem (Bardiani CSF) and Pier Paolo De Negri (Nippo Vini Fantini). Their maximum advantage reached 11 minutes, but on that day it was 264 km to cover, so it was not easy for the leaders to arrive at the finish ahead of the bunch. Strong headwind made things even harder and because of that factor the average speed in the first 5 hours was only 35km/h.
When it was 100km to go, the gap began to decrease. It was completely reduced when it was 20km to the finish. Mihaylov was the last rider to get caught, since he attacked from the breakaway. Thanks to over 220km spent in the escape, he moved to 2nd place in Premio Della Fuga classification (behind Bandiera). Marek Rutkiewicz and Łukasz Owsian were previous leaders of the standings.
Tinkoff-Saxo was pacing peloton in the last 20km, and in the very end other teams were forming their “trains”. CCC Sprandi Polkowice had four riders in the front and Grega Bole was up there, among the favorites. Marek Rutkiewicz helped him find a good spot in the bunch and Slovenian started the final attack well positioned. He finished 8th, which was first top 10 result for the “orange squad” in this year’s Giro d’Italia.
It was a very tough stage and a very hard finale. I felt good on the climbs and when the race entered decisive phase I had to fight for position. On the ascent Sylwester Szmyd, Branislau Samoilau and Marek Rutkiewicz were protecting me and the latter helped me start the sprint from the right spot. When we kicked off the sprint, my legs were not as strong as earlier and I didn’t have enough power to fight for the podium – Grega Bole explained.
Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) powered to victory, by outsprinting Juan Lobato (Movistar) and Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEDGE). Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) kept the “maglia rosa”.