Giro d’Italia | Stage 7



'Teamwork makes the dream work'

Here's how Jumbo-Visma used their power in numbers to propel Koen Bouwman to glory in Stage 7...
Giro d'Italia
'No point in attacking' – Final climb was too easy, suggest Hindley and Lloyd

Double Dutch delight for Jumbo-Visma

It was amazing to see Tom Dumoulin punch the air behind his teammate Koen Bouwman when the youngest rider of the break - and the only one without a Grand Tour stage win to his name - finished the job off with panache in Potenza. And a great story after the team's troubles so far in this race. What's more, Bouwman is the new blue jersey as well after taking maximum points over three of today's peaks.

Kamna leads GC favourites home

The main pack crosses the line around three minutes in arrears so Juanpe Lopez will retain the pink jersey today despite Lennard Kamna's best efforts to get a gap in the finale. Davide Villella (Codifis) held on for fifth place before the pack rampaged home.

Victory for Koen Bouwman!

"Teamwork makes the dream work," says Rob Hatch in the commentary box as Koen Bouwman secures Jumbo-Visma's first win on the Giro for three years. What a finish there. Dumoulin lead him out on the flat before the road ramped up in the final few hundred metres. Bouwman went first and went hard - neither Bauke Mollema nor Davide Formolo ever stood a chance. Jubilant scenes on the Giro. What a day.

16:04 - Final kilometre

After Dumoulin opened up a small gap it's Formolo who drags the others back into contention as they go under the banner. Bouwman, who is guaranteed the blue jersey today, is the only of these four who has never won a Grand Tour stage. For Mollema, it could be the final piece of his grand slam jigsaw...

16:00 - Dumoulin just won't take no for an answer

4km to go: It looks like Dumoulin won't rejoin the leaders today so it's Formolo vs Bouwman vs Mollema. They take it in turns attacking off the front in what is proving to be a finish for the ages. We haven't seen a stage like this in quite some time. And look, it just gets better: Dumoulin is coming back! Yes, he's back! So, with 3km to go now, the pendulum swings back into the favour of Jumbo-Visma.

15:55 - Dumoulin redivivus

7km to go: An acceleration from Mollema distances Dumoulin but not only does the 2017 champion fight back, he then rides straight past the others as soon as he rejoins the party. This is followed by another attack by Mollema, who powers clear to take the intermediate sprint ahead of Bouwman and Formolo. And this time it looks like Dumoulin has been dropped for good.
It was a 'sprint' but it played out entirely on uphill roads in the centre of Potenza. Not the kind of sprint you saw yesterday between the likes of Demare, Ewan and Cavendish, all of whom probably still have another 15km to ride today - at least.

15:51 - Dumoulin doing most of the work

9km to go: That suggests that Jumbo-Visma fancy Koen Bouwman for the win today. Tell you what, it would be a coup of Formolo defied his Dutch counterparts and took a win. His first and last on the Giro came in his debut race in 2015 in La Spezia.

15:46 - Four-way battle for the win

15km to go: The gap for the escapees is still 3:25 so there's no way they're going to be reeled in by the Inros train now. It remains to be seen if Lennard Kamna, who is 38 seconds down on GC, attacks before the finish in a bid to take the maglia rosa from Juanpe Lopez. For the stage win, it's anyone's guess. It's three Dutchman or an Italian...
We have a climb to the intermediate sprint and then that 14% ramp to the line. You can't imagine any of them have much fuel left in the tank and so predicting the winner is really a one-in-four stab in the dark.

15:36 - Bouwman battles back and takes KOM points

24km to go: My, oh my, this is the stage which keeps on giving... Dumoulin and Mollema gradually brought Formolo to heel while, behind them, Bouwman had a second wind and returned to the front. He then kicks clear over the summit of the La Sellata climb to take maximum points and consolidate his lead in the blue jersey competition - just when he thought his day was done.

15:30 - Formolo onto a flyer!

27km to go: What a fascinating finale this is proving to be - a real slugfest between these four riders. Jumbo-Visma put in a series of attacks through Bouwman and Dumoulin before Mollema takes advantage of a lull to go on a steep part of the climb. This move sees Bouwman distanced but and when Mollema is pegged back it's Formolo who puts in a dig and rides clear. The Dutch duo of Dumoulin and Mollema look at each other but neither has the answer or wants to do the work - allowing the Italian to open up a gap.

15:25 - Villella the next to pop

29km to go: Formolo takes it up and his pull sheds compatriot Villella. It's going to be fascinating to see how Jumbo-Visma make the most of their 50% quota in this four-man move now. Ineos have reduced the gap to 3:30 with Juanpe Lopez, the pink jersey, still in the main pack.

15:18 - Break on the final climb of the day

31km to go: The six leaders are onto the Cat.3 climb of La Sellata which is 7.8km at 5.9%. Jumbo Visma use their numerical advantage as Dumoulin puts in a series of accelerations which see Camargo dropped. One down, three more to go...

15:05 - Ineos Grenadiers come to the front

39km to go: Salvatore Puccio and Ben Swift front the Ineos train on the front of the peloton as the British team start to up the tempo in a bid to destabilise Richard Carapaz's rivals. The gap drops to four minutes accordingly for the break - so that takes the pink jersey out of the equation for Bouwman and Mollema.
Jumbo-Visma will of course be up for the stage win from either Bouwman and Dumoulin - on top of the former's blue jersey. But they don't want the gap to come down too much. As things stand, they can see their riders return up the standings and perhaps become a factor on the GC again. It would be a shame if these gains all disappeared for Dumoulin now.

15:00 - Bouwman puts in a dig

41km to go: Shortly after Davide Villella returned to the break, Koen Bouwman put in the first acceleration on this short climb which precedes the next categorised climb. It's Mollema who covers the move and brings it back together - but it's a sign of what's to come. The finish today comes 25km after the summit of the last climb. After a fast descent there are some lumps and bumps in the run into Potenza - incouding the punchy ramp to the second sprint at Potenza Centro - before the final uphill rise to the line, which ramps up to 13%.

14:50 - Villella fighting back on descent

48km to go: The Italian from Cofidis is just 20 seconds back now so he could rejoin the five leaders before too long. But it's curtains for Poels who is over a minute back now and clearly went into the red after being the principal animator early on today. The gap back to the peloton is still 5:35 and so it's touch and go for the pink jersey. If Trek don't up the tempo soon, they may see Lopez concede the maglia rosa to Bouwman. Although that's ignoring the role Mollema could play: he is just 19 seconds further back on GC than his compatriot.

14:35 - Bouwman into the blue jersey

61km to go: What a day this is proving to be for the Dutchman from Jumbo-Visma. Not content with being the virtual pink jersey on the road, he's now all but secured the blue jersey today. Bouwman kicks clear to take the maximum 18pts over the top ahead of Formolo. That puts him on 59pts in the KOM standings which is well ahead of Lennard Kamna's 43 points.

14:30 - Beautiful road surface for the break

62km to go: The local council has clearly laid on some fresh tarmac ahead of the Giro coming to town because this road is as smooth as the proverbial baby's bottom. That doesn't stop Dumoulin almost pulling a wheelie as he takes one bend at its apex and sees his front wheel lose momentary contact with the ground because of the gradient. The gap is growing again - 5:40 now - so Bouwman is back in the virtual pink jersey. He could well be the virtual blue jersey, too, after the summit.

14:25 - Villella bike change

64km to go: The Italian just caught Camargo, who had been slightly distanced by the break, before having to swing to the side of the road and receive more mechanical assistance. It takes an age and his new bike clearly has some issues - Villella is not a happy camper. He joins forces with the distanced Poels, while in front Camargo rallies and rejoins the leaders. The five have 5:05 over the pack in what is a perfectly poised stage. They're now on the 12% section and it's Bouwman and Formolo tapping out the tempo.

14:17 - Poels pedalling squares

65km to go: All of a sudden our seven-man break is down to five after Wout Poels is distanced early on the Cat.2 Montagna Grande di Viggiano. This is 6.6km climb with an average gradient of 9.1% so by far the toughest so far. Villella, riding back from his incident, passes Poels and has the leaders in his sights.

14:14 - Villella overcooks a corner and leaves the road

68km to go: On the short descent from Viggiano the Italian from Cofidis makes a hash of one bend and is forced off the road. He falls lightly onto a grass verge but does some damage to his bike and needs some help from his mechanic.

14:09 - Bouwman 'wins' intermediate sprint

70km to go: It's the blonde-haired Dutchman who rolls through the sprint in pole position to take the spoils - 500 euros and some maglia ciclamino points - but it's an uncontested affairs: these seven riders have bigger fish to fry, starting with the next climb, which is the toughest of the lot today. The gap is 5:15.

14:02 - Poels feeling the pinch

73km to go: His earlier efforts seem to have come back to haunt him and Wout Poels starts to lose the wheel at the start of the steep climb towards the intermediate sprint at Viggiano. His body language looks pretty low but he's digging deep to keep in touch with the leaders.

13:48 - Trek-Segafredo set tempo in pack

80km to go: It's the teammates of pink jersey Juanpe Lopez who are on the front of the pack doing all the work, largely through Jacopo Mosca. Behind it's the entire BikeExchange-Jayco formation of Simon Yates, the Stage 2 TT winner, and then the Ineos Grenadiers team of 2019 winner Richard Carapaz, who was active off the front earlier today for a brief moment. The gap has stayed at 5:35 for the seven leaders.

13:35 - Koen Bouwman the virtual race leader

90km to go: With the gap growing to 5:35, the Dutchman from Jumbo-Visma is the virtual leader on the road. Bouwman has many options today: the stage win, the pink jersey and the blue jersey (where he finds himself just two points away from the summit). This is a great turnaround for Jumbo-Visma, who also have Tom Dumoulin in the break, after their troubled start to the Giro.

13:30 - Another bike change for Dumoulin

93km to go: The Jumbo-Visma mechanic has clearly been busy - he must have made the necessary alterations to Dumoulin's climbing bike while dangling out the window on the descent... Some skills there. The 2017 Giro winner stops on the side of the road and swaps back to his favoured steed - it's a lighter bike with more aero wheels. We now have a flat-ish section ahead of the intermediate sprint and then the third categorised climb of the day.

13:23 - Trek-Segafredo keeping their options open

98km to go: With the gap up to 5:15 the pink jersey of Juanpe Lopez is unde threat. But Trek-Segafredo do have a back up here in Bauke Mollema, their man in the break. While Bouwman is the dangerman at +5:30 on GC, Mollema is only 19 seconds further back and so he, too, could be a factor in the pink jersey battle today while riding for the stage win. Trek are still defending their asset, mind, and are leading the pack to ensure this gap doesn't get too big.
Mollema has never won a stage on the Giro before; if he does, he'll complete his Grand Tour grand slam. Dumoulin and Formolo are both previous stage winners in the Giro. Meanwhile, in the gruppetto...

13:15 - Bouwman takes 40pts over summit of Monte Sirino

106km to go: Davide Formolo made the first move ahead of the summit but he was pegged back before Koen Bouwman powered clear of compatriot Poels to take the 40pts over the top. Poels has to settle for 18pts in second place - and this puts Bouwman, who took a solitary point over the first climb today in fourth place, onto 41pts in the blue jersey standings, just two below the current leader Lennard Kamna. Poels is up to 27 points despite doing the lion's share of the work today - he'll be annoyed about that.

13:10 - Mechanical for Tom Dumoulin

108km to go: The Dutchman needs to swap bikes after an issue or some such. Not for the first time today: he punctured on the first climb of the day and was momentarily distanced by the pack. The advantage of this seven-man move is up to 4:55 now as they move closer to the summit of this climb. Earlier, it was Davide Villella who punctured and had to battle back.

13:00 - Problems for Yates and Kamna

112km to go: Simon Yates is currently off the back of the peloton with a BikeExchange-Jayco teammate. We're not sure what happened - he may have picked up a flat, or perhaps just wanted to answer a call of nature while the pace was knocked off. Lennard Kamna, the blue jersey, also needed a bike change after an apparent puncture. We're just over two hours in to today's stage and it's the first time that we've been able to stop, breathe and take stock.
Ah, here we go, the camera is on Yates again as he receives some attention from his mechanic, who is dangling out of the support car window and tightening his pedals... Meanwhile, the gap is over four minutes now for the leaders.

12:52 - Over three minutes now for the leaders

117km to go: The break has passed over the steepest part of the climb and is now tackling the plateau ahead of the final rise to the summit. The gap is up to 3:35 for the seven escapees so it's looking increasingly likely that one of them will win the stage today while the fight for pink plays out behind.

12:41 - Seven riders join forces on the front

121km to go: Those two groups have come together and so we now have seven riders in this break with a gap of 1:25 over the pack as they enjoy the first downhill section of brief respite on this long climb of Monte Sirino. The leaders are: Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious), Davide Villella (Cofidis), Diego Camargo (EF Education-EasyPost), Tom Dumoulin and Koen Bouwman (both Jumbo-Visma), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates).
So, that's FOUR Dutchman, two Italians and an Ecuadorian. And seeing that the best placed of these seven riders on GC is Bouwman, at 5:30 from the pink jersey, it's likely that this move will now be allowed to go.

12:36 - Mollema joins the party

125km to go: The Dutch have been particularly active today and Bauke Mollema clearly wants a slice of the pie. The Trek-Segafredo veteran bridges over to the Dumoulin-Caicedo chase group. They are 15 seconds behind the four leaders and 40 seconds clear of the main pack. One rider, Luca Covili of Bardiani, is trying to bridge over. Are we finally seeing the race settle a little?
CORRECTION: It's the Colombian Diego Camargo from EF Education-Easypost and not the Ecuadorian Jonathan Caicedo.

12:30 - Four clear, Dumoulin on the move

127km to go: Villella caught Formolo and then the duo were joined by Wout Poels, who has been very active today, and Koen Bouwman. They have around 25 seconds on the main pack, from which Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) have just darted clear. It's nice to see Dumoulin on the front of the race again - he was dropped on the first climb after picking up a puncture. But he's back now and clearly got the legs.

12:20 - Formolo the lone leader

132km to go: There's been a slight regrouping as the second categorised climb gets going. It's the Cat.1 Monte Sireno which is 24.4km long at 3.8%. That average gradient is somewhat skewered on account of two downhill and flat sections in this climb either side of the maximum ramp of 12% around the halfway point.
Davide Formolo's lead is very slender - just around 15 seconds - and many riders are showing some intent in joining the Italian, including his compatriot Davide Villella of Cofidis. We're hearing that a sprinters' gruppetto is already four minutes off the back.

12:15 - Three riders abandon

Owain Doull (EF Education-EasyPost), Sergio Samitier (Movistar) and Samuele Zoccarato (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) have withdrawn from the Giro. I doubt they will be the last on today's brutal stage.

12:13 - Pink and blue jerseys come to the front

135km to go: Trek-Segafredo and Bike-Exchange combined to pull that lead group back and so Carapaz has been brought to heel after his ambitious dig. In fact, the only riders left out from that initial group that formed around Wout Poels are Davide Formolo and Jorge Arcas of Movistar, with Vincenzo Albanese somewhere in the mix. It's hard to tell because there are riders EVERYWHERE now.
The maglia rosa of Juanpe Lopez and blue jersey of Lennard Kamna are pushing hard - they open up a small gap with Pavel Sivakob of Ineos and a rider from Bike-Exchange as they start the next climb.

12:07 - Ineos throw the die as Carapaz goes clear

138km to go: Now this is very interesting... The Olympic champion and 2019 Giro winner Richard Carapaz is riding with Ineos Grenadiers teammate Jonathan Narvaez and a rider from Alpecin-Fenix - Van der Poel I think! - off the front of the pack. They were responding to an attack by a handful of riders and managed to get a gap. And just like that they may have managed to get themselves into the day's break.

12:00 - Poels caught, Dumoulin and Foss dropped

145km to go: Wout Poels was caught by Fomolo and Perez shortly after the summit and they're descending as a trio - although the Dutchman is taking some of these damp corners quite gingerly. They have Fabio Felline (Astana) and Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) in pursuit with the peloton only around 20 seconds back, so it's all very tight. We're hearing that Jumbo duo Dumoulin and Foss have not managed to get back to the main pack after their mechanicals.

11:55 - Poels pockets points over the summit

150km to go: The lone leader crests the mist-clad summit of the Passo Colla with just a 15-second gap over a chasing duo for all his efforts. That will be 9pts for Poels in the KOM standings. Chasing behind are Davide Formolo of UAE and Anthony Perez of Cofidis. There's a Jumbo-Visma rider just behind - Koen Bouwman. They take the remaining 4-2-1 points up for grabs.
We're hearing that both Tom Dumoulin and Tobias Foss picked up punctures on the climb, which is far from ideal for the Jumbo-Visma duo. Mathieu van der Poel tried to bridge over to Poels at one point but it came to nothing - but his hunger so far today perhaps explains why he didn't attempt the bunch sprint tomorrow.

11:45 - Wout Poels goes clear

155km to go: The rangy Dutchman put in his attack at the steep 12% section shortly after the start of the climb once that earlier move had been neutralised. He opens up a decent gap and may be allowed to go after he lost time in the stage to Messina, when he had to give his bike to Bahrain Victorious teammate Pello Bilbao ahead of the descent from the climb. He has compatriot Gijs Leemreize of Jumbo-Visma in pursuit - although he's soon joined by a cluster of others, notably Diego Ulissi of UAE.

11:37 - Six clear after De Marchi pegged back

160km to go: They're onto the Cat.2 Passo Colla (9.3km at 4.5%) and six riders have a small gap. Joe Dombrowski of Astana is there - one day after his birthday - and Sylvain Moniquet, who attacked earlier today. But a handful are trying to bridge over and that has provoked a reaction in the pack, so I doubt this will stick.

11:30 - De Marchi strikes out solo

165km to go: The likes of Matt Holmes (Lotto Soudal) and Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) both came to the front - and not for the first time today - before Italy's Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech) stamped on the pedals to open up a gap on another one of these uphill digs that precede the first climb proper. The Italian veteran gets a small gap but no one manages to come over and the pace in the peloton is still high, so it's hard to see De Marchi getting any joy here.
If this pace continues there's going to be some serious damage at the finish. They have covered 35km in the opening half hour, which is scary given the terrain, which has gone up more than it has gone down. And we still have those four categorised climbs coming up...

11:21 - Trouble for the pink jersey

171km to go: Juanpe Lopez needs a bike change - and this will be panic-stations for Trek-Segafredo. Convention says the pace should ease so he can rejoin the peloton after his mechanical. But it will take some time before the news filters down. Perhaps someone can exploit these moments of hesitation and indecision and go clear...
The Spaniard took the maglia rosa on Tuesday's Stage 4 to Mount Etna, where he was beaten to the win by Lennard Kamna of Bora-Hansgrohe. Germany's Kamna took the blue jersey that day and, after picking up some bonus seconds yesterday and the day before, now trails Lopez by 38 seconds in the general classification.

11:17 - De Gendt has company

176km to go: Around 10 riders have managed to bridge over to the lone leader - including that man Van der Poel plus Nans Peters of Ag2R-Citroen, a previous stage winner in both the Tour and Giro - but the peloton are breathing down their necks and it looks like this one will come pack together. They have covered 16km in the first 20 minutes - over quite challenging terrain - which goes to show just how fast a start it has been.

11:12 - Van der Poel showing intent

180km to go: De Gendt went over the brow of that grind of a climb with just 10 seconds to play with. Behind, Alessandro Covi was the latest UAE Team Emirates rider to have a go - two goes, in fact, preceding big digs from Mathieu van der Poel, who once again is almost unrecognisable in his regular Alpecin-Fenix kit.

11:07 - Gaps coming down as the road goes up

184km to go: Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Davide Gabburo (Bardiani-CSF) and Samuele Rivi (Eolo-Kometa) were chasing down De Gendt with Eduardo Sepulveda (Drone Hopper-Androni Giacattoli). But it's all exploded behind as the road heads up from Scalea on an uncategorised lump. Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) and Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) are involved in the action as that chasing trio is swept up. De Gendt's lead down to 20 seconds.

11:00 - Thomas De Gendt is on the move

189km to go: The Belgian breakaway specialist zips clear after negotiating the short-way round the roundabout which featured in yesterday's stage ahead of the finish in Scalea. The Lotto Soudal rider opens up a small gap and has three in pursuit. De Gendt clearly thinks he'll have a better chance at staying away by going early rather than waiting for the first climb.

10:53 - Stage 7 is under way!

196km to go: Two minutes ahead of schedule, the flag is waved and today's super-tough medium mountains stage is under way. It will be a big battle for both the pink and blue jerseys - and a fight for survival for the flat-track bullies.
An early move sees Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa) and Tobias Bayer (Alpecin-Fenix) go clear but it comes to nothing for the trio and it's soon gruppo compatto.

One withdrawal: Michael Morkov

A big blow for Mark Cavendish this morning with the withdrawal of his Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl man Michael Morkov. The Danish veteran has been suffering with a fever. So, if Cav wants to add to his Stage 3 win he'll have to do it with Davide Ballerini or the inexperienced Bert Van Lerberghe as his pilot.

Riders rolling through the neutral zone ahead of Stage 7

The remaining 171 riders are soft-pedalling through the outskirts of Diamante as they edge their way towards the official start. The route takes them back up along the Calabrian coast and past yesterday's finish town of Scalea ahead of the first of four categorised climb. In total there's a whopping 4,700m of altitude gain on the menu in this constantly undulating 196km Stage 7 to Potenza, including the longest climb in the race, the Cat.1 ascent of Monte Sirino which is a grind of over 30km.

What happened yesterday?

A day somewhat devoid of drama sprung into life on the streets of Scalea with a bunch sprint deluxe that saw Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) deny Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) by the slenderest of margins – and left Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) slapping his handlebars in frustration.
Australia’s Ewan looked to have won his shoulder-to-shoulder battle with Britain’s Cavendish on the home straight before Demare emerged from their slipstream with an emphatic burst, clinical deviation and superior bike lunge that made him France’s all-time leading stage winner in La Corsa Rosa.
Demare’s seventh career win in the Giro was arguably his best, coming as it did after a frantic few seconds in which he was boxed in against the barriers by his own leadout man, Jacopo Guarnieri, before being forced to dart across the road to find a gap and emerge from the wheel of Ewan, for whom the win looked inevitable.
All this while Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria shook a fist in anger after the UAE Team Emirates sprinter found himself stuck in a Team DSM sandwich between Cees Bol and Alberto Dainese at the conclusion of the 192km stage from Palmi. Gaviria was later relegated for his role in the high-speed kerfuffle.
Read the full report here

'Three of them to the line!' - Demare takes 'messy' Stage 6 sprint ahead of Ewan and Cavendish

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