Tiralongo Wins Stage 7 of Giro; Hesjedal Takes Maglia Rosa
Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) has won Stage 7 of the Giro d'Italia.
Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) has won Stage 7 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia. The Italian veteran outsprinted Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) to win the hilly, 205-km ride from Recanati to Rocco di Cambio in 5:51:03. Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) outsprinted Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) for third at 0:03. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barricuda), who finished fifth at 0:05, is the new maglia rosa.
The hostilities began at the start. Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Mirko Selvaggi (Vacansoleil-DCM), Fumiyuki Beppu (Orica-GreenEdge), and Reto Hollenstein (Team NetApp) attacked. The quartet forged a lead that maxed out at 9 minutes before the peloton awakened.
The bunch pegged the lead at between 8 and 9 minutes before gradually shutting down the break. With 64 km left, the escapees led the field by 6:40. At 178 km, Beppu and Selvaggi attacked their companions, but Rabottini and then Hollenstein got back on. The alliance between the four collapsed at this point.
As the peloton closed in on the fugitives, Rabottini set out on his own. Maglia rosa Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) dropped off of the pace. On the lower slopes of the Rocco di Cambio, Stef Clement (Rabobank) attacked. The bunch reeled him in, but Stefano Pirazzi (Colnago-ISF Inox) got away. Pirazzi caught and dropped Beppu, Hollenstein, and Selvaggi with 16 km remaining. Rabottini led the chasers by 0:33 and the bunch by about a minute.
Three km later, Pirazzi caught Rabottini. Behind, Jose Herrada (Movistar) passed Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas-Cannondale), who had attacked from the peloton. With 12 km to go, the Movistar man caught the two leaders.
With 10 km left and the peloton 0:22 behind the break, Rabottini was dropped. Herrada did most of the work, and the pair increased their lead slightly.
Astana took the field into the last 5 km. The Kazakh squad's pacemaking narrowed the gap between what remained of the bunch and the break.
On a downhill stretch before the final climb to the finish, Pirazzi nearly went off of the road on a turn. Herrada set out alone. With 700 m remaining, the peloton caught the Spaniard. Two hundred m later, Scarponi bolted into the lead. Tiralongo took the Lampre-ISD man's wheel and passed him in the last 100 m.
In the overall, Hesjedal leads Tiralongo by 0:15 and Rodriguez by 0:17. Stage 8 might produce more changes in the standings. The 229-km ride from Sulmona to Lago Laceno will feature numerous uncategorized climbs as well as a Category 3 ascent and a Category 2 climb to the finish. Will Hesjedal be the maglia rosa tomorrow evening? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!