Verbrugghe Wins Stage 7 of Giro
Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis) has won Stage 7 of the Giro d?Italia.
Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis) has won Stage 7 of the Giro d?Italia. The Belgian soloed away from four companions to win the hilly, 236-km ride from Cesana to Saltana in 6:42:15. Defending champion Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel) outsprinted Luca Mazzanti (Ceramica Panaria) for second at 0:14. Sergei Gonchar (T-Mobile) has reclaimed the maglia rosa .<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
Sunny, warm weather greeted the riders. The bunch reeled in an early sally, but Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis) and Sylvain Calzati (Ag2r) escaped at 29 km. The pair?s lead maxed out at 17:48 at 94 km.
The bunch began to chase. As the escapees? lead shrank, 30 men counterattacked at about 115 km. In the peloton, Discovery Channel chased because the American squad had only one rider in the counterattack.
On Monte Catria, Scheirlinckx dropped Calzati. The counterattack was whittled down to eight men-Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step), Francisco Vila (Lampre), Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile), Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d?Epargne), Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval), Verbrugghe, Sergei Yakovlev (Liberty Seguros), and Victor Hugo Pena (Phonak). Behind, Discovery Channel stopped chasing. With 65 km left, the eight chasers caught Scheirlinckx.
The break extended its lead to 7:00 with 60 km left. Liquigas began to chase, and the lead began to fall. Gerolsteiner joined Liberty. When the lead group reached the Monte delle Cesane, Garate accelerated. Scheirlinckx and Yakovlev slid out of the back. Efimkin attacked his companions but was brought back.
On the descent, Kessler crashed out of the break. Garate made a series of accelerations, and Efimkin was dropped. With 24 km left, the break led Efimkin by 1:20 and the peloton by 3:15. Garate tried but failed to escape his companions.
With 16 km remaining and the break?s lead down to 2:30, Lampre took command of the peloton. Within one km, the bunch had taken 0:50 out of the break. Garate attacked his companions, but could not escape. The gap between bunch and break was 0:58 at 226 km and 0:45 at 230 km. One km later, Verbrugghe attacked.
Discovery Channel joined Lampre at the front. At the one-km banner, Verbrugghe led the chasers by 0:28, but the bunch was about to absorb them, which it did 300 m later. Verbrugghe, however, held on for the win.
In the overall, Gonchar leads Savoldelli by 0:06 and Ivan Basso (CSC) by 0:11. Stage 8 will be the first big battle between the leading climbers. The 171-km ride from Civitanova Marche to Maielletta-Passo Lanciano will be slightly uphill until the last 12 km, when the riders will ascend the finishing climb. Who will win? Damiano Cunego (Lampre)? Ivan Basso (CSC)? Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval)? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!