22-year-old Caleb Ewan has sprinted to victory on stage seven of the Giro d’Italia, drawing on the frustrations of the past week to finally taste success.
The victory marked a turn around in fortune for the Australian, after bad luck has hampered some of his chances on the earlier sprint stages at the Italian Grand Tour.
“This win has probably brought me more joy than any other,” Ewan said at the finish. “Everyday I didn’t get a win, I felt the pressure build so to finally get the victory it feels pretty good.”
“This is the best way to repay my teammates who have been working so hard for me. We went early, but that was the plan, and they just stayed so confident and so calm. They did a fantastic job today.”
The long 224km stage from Castrovillari concluded with a technical circuit in Alberobello.
After Dane Chris Juul-Jensen spent the day contributing to the chase, once it was back together ORICA-SCOTT hit the front early with Svein Tuft, Michael Hepburn and Alex Edmondson and it proved the right move.
Former Giro d’Italia stage winner Luka Mezgec provided the perfect final lead out before Ewan hit out early and held on for the victory ahead of Fernando Gaviria (Quickstep) and Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe).
“It was probably one of the more hectic finals I’ve done at the Giro,” Ewan said. “We knew we wanted to be in front in those final corners so I hit out earlier than I usually would. It meant I could take the best line to the finish and luckily I held on.”
“Even after the past days I knew it wasn’t my form that was in doubt, I just needed a bit of luck. Today the team were awesome again and all I had to do was that last sprint to the line.”
How it happened:
Despite a lumpy start and finish, stage seven of the Giro d’Italia offered another opportunity for a bunch sprint into Alberobello.
Just three riders rode into the breakaway, before it shortly dropped down to just two, making the long 224km stage more simple for the sprint teams to control.
Juul-Jensen shared the duties at the front of the peloton with Quickstep Floors and Lotto-Soudal and the gap never reached four-minutes.
As the race approached the technical and complicated finish, the intensity stepped up as outfits tried to keep their leaders in front and out of danger.
The race was back together with 14km to go and ORICA-SCOTT hit the front.
After a final lead out from Mezgec, Ewan launched early to navigate the most direct line to the finish, just holding onto the victory in a final lunge.
Giro d’Italia – Stage 7 results:
1. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-SCOTT) 5:35:18
2. Fernando Gaviria (Quickstep Floors) ST
3. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) ST
Giro d’Italia – General Classification after stage 7:
1. Bob Jungels (Quickstep Floors) 33:56:07
2. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +0:06
3. Adam Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:10
- Maglia Rosa (pink), general classification leader, sponsored by Enel – Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors)
- Maglia Ciclamino (cyclamen), sprinter classification leader, sponsored by Segafredo – Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors)
- Maglia Azzurra (blue), King of the Mountains classification leader, sponsored by Banca Mediolanum – Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates)
- Maglia Bianca (white), young rider general classification leader, sponsored by Eurospin – Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors)