Live coverage of today’s stage to get under way at 1pm (BST)
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Juan Pedro Lopez in leader’s pink jersey for the third day
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Simon Yates best placed (fourth) of pre-race favorites
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What’s on today’s menu?
With four categorised climbs of varying difficulty, and its razortooth profile today will be, as former Lotto-Soudal sprinter Adam Blythe said on Eurosport / GCN Race Pass yesterday “hell, hell, hell” for any rider who wakes up this morning in Calabria with tired legs. For those with diamonds – or should that be Diamante? – in their legs, today could be their moment to glisten. Almost 200 kilometers of racing awaits, from Diamante to Potenza, featuring 4,510 meters in vertical elevation and so this is not one for the feint of heart. Interestingly, there is a sharp kicker at the very end of the stage, so if a small group goes all the way to the line, a puncheur may prevail.
Historically, every man and his dog would be predicting Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) would be getting himself into the breakaway, but I’m not so sure. If a big break clips off up the road and sticks together, the finale may suit someone like Magus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) or Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), although in reality I could probably list 20 or more riders who could win.
In addition to the stage win, the mountains classification competition is likely to spark into life, particularly on the 24km-long Monte Sirino where there are 40 points up for grabs – mountains classification leader Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) starts with 43 points – while there are 18, 18 and nine available on the Passo Colla, Montagna Grande di Viggiano and La Sellata.
So, what does the stage look like?
Here’s what the roadbook says about the stage…
A very challenging stage across the Southern Apennines. The start along the sea is the only flat stretch. Past Maratea, the route undulates continuously, with milder or harsher gradients. After climbing the Passo della Colla and reaching Lauria, the stage tackles the Monte Sirino. The route then hits Viggiano, clears the challenging Montagna Grande di Viggiano, and then takes in the final ascent of Sellata before reaching Potenza. Throughout the course, the roads are usually narrow and can be damaged at points, twisting continuously along the mountainside.
The final kilometers (see below) are raced entirely on urban roads. The route runs uphill across the inner city, with sharp gradients at points, and then descends along wide and well-paved avenues. There is a short tunnel at the -2 km marker leading into the finish avenue. The last 350m have an average 8% gradient, topping out at 13%. The finish sits on Tarmac.
Catch up: Highlights from Thursday’s stage
It was a languorous day in the saddle for most of the peloton, with just Diego Rosa (Eolo-Kometa) braving his arm, the Italian riding out in front on his lonesome for 140km, before the sprinters’ teams came to the fore. With the bunch approaching the outskirts of Scalea, the prospect of a mouth-watering three-way battle between in-form sprinters Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ), Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Mark Cavendish (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) had most viewers licking their lips in anticipation. In the end it was Démare who was able to celebrate after a photo-finish, the Frenchman completing back-to-back wins having pipped Ewan to the line, while Cavendish, who may have opened up his sprint a little too early, had to settle for third. Anyway, here are the highlights from the stage . . .
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage seven at the Giro d’Italia, the 198-kilometer run from Diamante to Potenza.
The following two back-back-back sprinters’ stages, today appears to designed for the baroudeurs of the pack, those tough riders who are able to get in a breakaway on hold it over rolling, and occasionally, rough terrain. Those targeting the general classification may not be seen at the pointy end of the stage today, but they will be on high alert throughout what should be a gripping afternoon of racing. But before we have a look at the course, let’s have a quick recap of the standings in the top classifications, in other words the competitions where jerseys are awarded to the leaders.
Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) will wear the maglia rosa, or leader’s pink jersey, for the third successive day after finishing Thursday’s stage safely in the bunch on the same time as Démare.
There were no changes at the top of the points classification on Thursday, and so Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) will wear the maglia ciclamino, cyclamen jersey, for a second successive day.
Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) will once again be dressed in the maglia azzurra, or blue jersey, as mountains classification leader.
López also leads the youth classification, but Mauri Vansevenant (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) will wear the maglia bianca (white jersey).